Taste Test: David DiBari, Chef and Owner of The Cookery in Dobbs Ferry, NY, Rates Fresh Mozzarella from Westchester County Shops and Delis

Crowning the county’s masters of mozzarella


Chef Dave DiBari of The Cookery


Whether formed into balls, rolls, or braids, fresh moz-zarella is a simple delicacy of but a few ingredients: water, salt, and curd (coagulating cow’s milk). “It’s best as fresh as possible, so I make it before each service two or three times a day,” says David DiBari, chef/owner of The Cookery (39 Chestnut St, Dobbs Ferry 914-305-2336; thecookeryrestaurant.com). DiBari blind-tasted mozzarella from 11 delis and markets around the county, looking for the best. “It’s all about technique,” DiBari says. “A gentle touch is necessary to produce a buttery, milky, wet, soft-to-the-touch mozzarella.” So who has the best technique?

★★★★ Stew Leonard’s, Yonkers ($6.99/lb)
“Fresh-made, buttery, and smooth texture. Love all the milk running
out of it.”

★★★ ½ Dante’s Deli, White Plains ($8.99/lb)
“Tender, smooth, and good milkiness. Seasoned well.”

★★★ The Iron Tomato, White Plains ($7.99/lb)
“Tasty and fresh. Good milk and salt content. A little grainy.”

★★ ½  Avitabile Brothers, Yonkers ($6.99/lb)
“Looks great—nice sheen. Milky, but not seasoned enough and too firm.”

★★ Cosmo & Alex Pisano Bros. Deli, Mamaroneck ($7.59/lb)
“Seasoned perfectly and good juice to it. Could be a little softer. Doesn’t taste rich enough with milk.”

½  Morton Williams, Hartsdale ($7.99/lb)
“Too hard and dry. No milk.”

Sassi Italian Deli, Ossining ($9.99/lb)
“Not buttery or soft. No richness of milk.”

Turco’s Market, Yorktown ($7.99/lb)
“Grainy. Needs more salt. Where’s the milk?”

Carmine’s Italian Deli & Café, Elmsford ($7.99/lb)
“Too hard and grainy. No flavor.”

½  Battaglia Bros Meateria & Deli, Dobbs Ferry ($6.99/lb)
“Dry, not seasoned. Tastes like water.”



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