Spring Break for Foodies

Illustration by Lauren Simkin-Berke
Photo: Kang Kim

1. Zero Otto Nove
Quickly becoming as mandatory a stop on the tri-state pizza-pilgrim map as Coney Island’s Totonno’s and New Haven’s Pepe’s, Zero Otto Nove is not only a pizzeria but a sprawling trattoria with an expansive menu and a pretty impressive pasta al forno. The Neapolitan wood-fired-oven pizza, though, is the thing. It’s made—if you time it right—by a 26-year-old, white-T-shirt-clad, Salerno-born pizzaiolo named Riccardo. It’s light and puffy-lipped, tender to the bite with just a hint of chew, nicely balanced, and topped with first-rate ingredients. Purists will want to try the margherita ($13.95), of course, made according to strict Neapolitan-pizza-police guidelines, with buffalo mozzarella. But don’t forgo the relatively outré La Riccardo ($13.95)—smoked mozzarella, pancetta, and butternut-squash purée. And get there soon: La Riccardo says he’s heading back to the old country in five months.
In the vicinity: New York Botanical Garden, Bronx Zoo, and the Arthur Avenue Retail Market.
Getting there: Metro-North to Fordham takes about twenty minutes. From there, it’s about a ten- to fifteen-minute walk (south on Third Avenue, left on 187th Street, right on Arthur Avenue).
2357 Arthur Ave., nr. E. 186th St., the Bronx; 718-220-1027.

Photo: Courtesy of Burgers, Shakes & Fries

2. Burgers, Shakes & Fries
This six-month-old burger joint right off I-95 is as close as Greenwich gets to a Shake Shackian feeding frenzy. Discriminating burger nibblers, their giddy tots in tow, politely wedge themselves into the twenty-seat spot for decent fries; good, thick shakes; and great one-third-pound cheeseburgers quirkily served patty-melt style on butter-griddled bread. If you’re wearing a bib and have a roll of Bounty on hand, you might try a double or triple burger; otherwise, stick with the $3.50 single. Note to meat snobs: The ground chuck, hand-pressed in-house, comes from Master Purveyors in the Bronx, which also supplies the venerable burger bar JG Melon.
Getting there: By car, take Exit 2 off I-95; turn left on Byram Shore Road, then left on Delavan Avenue.
302 Delavan Ave., Greenwich, Conn.; 203-531-7433.

3. Harvest Supper
Jack and Grace Lamb, whose East Village fiefdom includes Jewel Bako and Degustation, moved three years ago to the ’burbs, which is where they’ve unveiled their latest venture: a lovely 36-seat spot with plaid wallpaper, barn-wood wainscoting, and a small-plates menu courtesy of chef Michael Campbell, formerly of Hearth. Artfully presented and packed with flavor, his dishes ($6 to $19) include braised short rib with potato-feta croquettes, a zesty heirloom-bean salad mingled with cubes of Idiazábal cheese, and crispy pork belly with sausage-stuffed shallots. Until the wine license arrives, stop at Francos, at 130 Elm Street, for a bottle.
In the vicinity: The visitor center at the nearby Philip Johnson Glass House reopens April 2; the furniture and jewelry on consignment at the Silk Purse (118 Main Street) appeal to slightly less modern tastes.
Getting there: Between an hour and an hour and a quarter from Grand Central, usually changing at Stamford; one block from train station.
15 Elm St., New Canaan, Conn.; 203-966-5595.

Photo: Courtesy of Dressing Room

4. Dressing Room
Paul Newman’s year-and-a-half-old collaboration with chef Michel Nischan raises awareness (for sustainable agriculture) and funds (for the adjacent Westport Country Playhouse, where Newman’s wife, Joanne Woodward, is co–artistic director). With its fieldstone fireplace, its woody décor, and the pervasive scent of baby-back ribs, the place is at once casual and sophisticated. So’s the menu, from the crunchy “use a spoon” chopped salad ($14) to the ever-popular boutique pig platter with beans and collards ($34). Newman’s Own coffee and private-label wines are on offer, and quite good, and the outdoor patio is the perfect summer setting for sampling the regionally focused beer list.
In the vicinity: The Westport Farmers Market runs Thursdays from June through November in the restaurant parking lot.
Getting there: Just over an hour from Grand Central; five-minute taxi ride from train station costs $9 with Westport Taxi (203-227-5157).
27 Powers Ct., Westport, Conn.; 203-226-1114.

Spring Break for Foodies