La Bocca Ristorante, White Plains NY

My office just moved into White Plains, NY. We haven’t come across any mind blowing culinary spots yet so my search has gone into high gear. Over the next few months I am going to be reviewing as many White Plains establishments as possible until I find my favorite spots for breakfast, lunch, dinner and happy hour.

La Bocca was up first.
This little Italian spot caught my eye the other day and so I decided to give it a try. I was dining alone for lunch so I opted to sit at the bar. The staff is lovely enough- mostly Italians I believe. They had CNN on the TV by the bar and some dance music on in the background. The bottles behind the bar were all wrapped in saran wrap- so far I wasn’t thrilled by the ambiance. I looked over the menu and decided to test this place out with a simple classic- the chicken parmesan. I asked if it was pounded thin and surprisingly my server said it was not. (a huge pet peeve of mine- more to come on this topic in another post.) However, she did offer to ask the kitchen to pound it out for me and I said that would be great. After I placed my order I was given a basket of classic terranova bread and some eggplant carbonara. The eggplant was good, but not great. It needed seasoning and was too wet. My meal arrived in an appropriate amount of time and was accompanied by string beans marinara and large pieces of fried potatoes. At first glance I was not impressed. The potatoes looked dry but I tasted them anyway and they were in fact dry, but surprisingly had an incredible rosemary flavor despite to any visual evidence of rosemary. Personally, I have never seen chicken parmesan served with potatoes before and I hope it was my last because they don’t complement each other. The beans were fine- they were just beans with marinara sauce on them. I don’t think they helped or hurt the meal. I think some fresh salad greens would have been a more enjoyable accompaniment. The chicken parmesan was fine- it was not great. The marinara sauce was quite tasty, but too thin for my liking. The mozzarella was obviously the ‘off the block’ sliced variety and the chicken could have used some basic seasoning or perhaps a sprinkle of fresh basil. Overall the meal lacked vibrancy. I did end my meal with a excellent cup of espresso.

I started to chat with the bartender and she told me that they have very good pasta dishes there and I should come back and try one of their homemade varieties. I am reluctant to give it a second try because if you can’t nail chicken parmesan…well, I won’t finish that sentence. I love everything this place could be and I hate everything that it isn’t. Little changes could go a long way here.

Feaster’s Rating Scale 1-10

Ambiance: 7
Service: 8
Food: 4
Value: 6
location: 9