Lanni’s Cucina Verace: A Destination for Italian Food Enthusiasts

Pollo alla Samantha (Scarpariello) at Lanni's Cucina Verace: Crispy Boneless Organic Chicken Leg and Thigh with Sweet Sausages, Hot and Sweet Cherry Peppers, Garlic, and Rosemary, served with Broccoli Rabe

Close your eyes, and you might think you are dining in Italy. Yes, the ingredients used at Lanni’s Cucina Verace are that authentic. 

Good Italian Food Starts with Good Ingredients

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese from Emilia Romagna
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese from Emilia Romagna

The dishes on the menu feature regional products certified for authenticity by the European Union, such as the tomato sauce made with San Marzano DOP tomatoes. 

The Mozzarella di Bufala DOP cheese, Basilico, and Pasta Asciutta Di Gragnano are imported from Campania. The Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and Vacche Rosse Parmigiano cheeses are from Emilia Romagna. Some 90 percent of the food products are from Italy.

One giveaway you’re not in Italy is that the recipes, simple preparations with a modern flair, aren’t from one region alone. The cuisine at most restaurants in Italy is rooted in their respective region. 

The menu at Lanni’s, however, is eclectic, brave enough to feature dishes across the country’s 20 delicious regions from north to south, including recipes from Puglia, Tuscany, and Campania.

The menu is a bit “bottom-heavy” geographically, leaning to the south perhaps because Chef Vittorio Lanni was born in Paolisi, a small town northeast of Naples. He began cooking in his mother’s kitchen at the age of five and operated several restaurants before this one.

An Intimate Suburban Setting

Entrance to Lanni's Cucina Verace on Main Street in Sparkhill
Entrance to Lanni’s Cucina Verace on Main Street in Sparkill

This intimate 40-seat restaurant is located in Sparkill, New York. The tiny hamlet in Rockland County is across the Hudson River from Westchester and New York City. It’s housed in a small red brick building that once was a preschool bustling with toddlers. The setting seems an unlikely venue for authentic Italian cuisine. 

Scalloped black awnings and oversized brass door fittings immediately signal you are entering a fine dining restaurant.

Chef Vittorio and his wife, Kimberly, have transformed the interior into an elegant, dimly lit dining room with mauve velour banquets and walls papered with bold pink flowers on a forest green background with a dark wood trim. Small brass LED lamps sit on the white tablecloths, a counterpoint to the black ceiling. An attractive bar at one back corner of the room offers a few more seats for those who haven’t been lucky enough to snag a table. 

Relaxed ambiance in the dining room at Lanni's Cucina Verace
Relaxed ambiance in the dining room

Kimberly, who has a background in the liquor industry, oversees the beverage program, which includes more than 500 bottles of wine, amaros, and grappas. She also personally handles reservations. 

Kimberly at the bar
Kimberly at the bar

A Meal That Doesn’t Disappoint

House made Pappardelle “Ghizzano Style”
House made Pappardelle “Ghizzano Style”

The dinner menu is organized according to conventional “Italian food rules.” It’s divided into sections with hot appetizers, cold appetizers, salads, primi, secondi, and vegetables. In addition to the entree menu, there are some mouth-watering specials. We dined with friends, so we sampled a variety of dishes. 

The Mozzarella Di Bufala Per Due plate
The Mozzarella Di Bufala Per Due plate

The Mozzarella Di Bufala Per Due plate (which was enough to serve four of us) was a standout. It included three different types of creamy mozzarella: one with truffles and wild mushrooms (from Puglia), one with eight-hour roasted sweet cherry tomatoes and basil (from Naples), and another smoked with speck (from Naples).

The housemade Pappardelle “Ghizzano Style” offered wide pasta noodles cooked al dente with  Tomato Ragu and topped with shaved Parmigiano, prepared In the style of a small village in Tuscany. My husband’s Short Ribs served on a bed of polenta were so tender and perfectly cooked that the beef almost fell off the bone.

Short Ribs on Polenta at Lanni's Cucina Verace
Short Ribs on Polenta at Lanni’s Cucina Verace

The dishes are beautifully presented and most portions are over-sized, providing enough for a warmed-up gourmet lunch the next day. You’ll also want to save a little room for the homemade tiramisu. 

Despite the restaurant having a full house early on a Saturday evening (at the earlier of two seatings), service was warm, personable, and attentive. Before we left, we felt like we knew our waiters, Louis and Alessandro. Many wait staff spoke Italian and could explain the menu’s nuances.

The restaurant has only been open since May but reservations are already tough to come by, evidence that Lanni’s is living up to its Verace (ver-a-ce adj) surname, which means in Italian: truthful, real, intense, genuine. 

Lanni’s Cucina Verace offers some of the most authentic, high-quality Italian food we’ve eaten in the Hudson Valley. It was certainly worth the drive from Westchester. This special restaurant is perfect for a romantic date night, to celebrate a special occasion, or to simply make believe you are visiting Italy.

Outdoor patio for al fresco dining, weather permitting
Outdoor patio for al fresco dining, weather permitting

All photo credits: Jerome Levine


IF YOU GO

 

  • Reservations and information (845) 470-2505
  • The restaurant is open seven days a week:  Monday thru Saturday: 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM;  Sundays: 2:00 PM  – 8:00 PM, Lunch on Saturday & Sunday: 11:30 AM, Valet parking

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