The vast space that was formerly the family-style Italian restaurant Laguna has now been transformed into a Mediterranean eatery with strong Middle Eastern influences. A bit confused by the mix of lamb kebob and linguine vongole, we questioned owner Par Shakiban about the rationale behind his choices and were treated to an account of his life story and how his past has influenced his newest incarnation.
Originally from Persia, Shakiban came to the United States as a young man to study engineering at Columbia University. Upon graduation he took a job at IBM and quickly realized that he had chosen the wrong field. He made the switch from circuits to real estate and restaurants, eventually opening successful ventures such as Par’s Steakhouse in Armonk, Eclisse in Rye Brook and Stanford, Patisserie Salzburg in Rye, Laguna in White Plains and now Eclisse, White Plains.
He explained that his newest venture features tastes of the diaspora as many Persians fled from their homeland to Italy and the United States, keeping their native recipes while also incorporating ingredients favored in their new homelands. Voila, the menu at Eclisse, which features a mixture of hummus, rakaat, kufteh and dolmeh, next to mozzarella caprese, melanzane rollitini and risotto.
On the three visits we made to Eclisse, we stuck to the Persian fare. We were warmly greeted by the friendly, knowledgeable and professional staff. Due to the sheer size of the space, there was never a problem securing a table. To start, Eclisse offers a tempting array of cocktails and a long wine list. When I didn’t see the rose I like offered by the glass, the waiter was happy to open a bottle and serve me an individual portion.
On our lunch visit, we chose an appetizer sampler and were pleasantly surprised with generous portions of hummus, rakaat – warm cheese rolls with feta, ricotta salata, mozzarella and fresh mint, borani esfenaj, which is baked spinach, onion, garlic, and herbs mixed with yogurt, mast khiar a yogurt cucumber and mint combination plus mirza ghasemi, an eggplant and tomato combination topped with a fried quail egg.
There’s an extensive list of salads and the taboule, a fresh mix of parsley, mint, scallions, tomato and lemon should not be missed.
Main courses include a list of Italian pasta specialties, a choice of kebobs, fish selections and four Persian stews. As we were confused about which way to go, the waiter offered to serve us a tasting flight of the four stews, each unique in flavor.
We tasted Ghourmeh Sabzi a beef stew, flavored with dried lemon plus parsley, scallions and herbs, Khoresh Bademjan a veal stew with split peas and tomato sauce topped with eggplant, Khoresh Fesenjan, miniature meatballs in a pomegranate paste with walnuts – reminiscent of sweet and sour meatballs and Khoresh Gheymeh, stewed veal in a tomato sauce with potato, split peas and dried lemon. Tasting each did not help us decide what to order, as all four were unusual and flavorful.
On several visits, we went for the simpler kebobs which are served in a choice of chicken, lamb, Barg (steak) kobideh (ground lamb) or lamb . All are served with your choice of rice, taboule and grilled tomato and were delicious. The regular menu include a good choice of fish dishes, including spicy shrimp tagine, black cod with sour cherries, and chilean sea bass with tumeric and mint. We tried the salmon with zataar, a Middle Eastern spice and couscous, a welcome departure from the usual broiled salmon.
Desserts include baklava as well as a frozen hazelnut parfait, a light and refreshing way to end the meal.
Prices are reasonable with appetizers from $6 - $10 and entrees around $20. At lunchtime, you’ll find the same menu at considerably lower prices.
With refreshing new flavors, a novel menu, easy parking and ample space, Eclisse is sure to be a hit in White Plains. Try them for lunch or dinner, before or after the movies or any night of the week.
Eclisse is open for lunch, Tuesday through Friday from noon to 3 pm, for dinner, Monday through Thursday from 5 to 10 pm and on Sunday from 4 to 10 pm. The parking garage next door is closed, so valet parking service is available.
189 East Post Road
White Plains, NY 10601