The Sky’s the Limit at City Limits Diner

CLD Smokehouse BurgerSmokehouse BurgerWhere shall we eat today? Often, on a Saturday afternoon, after a strenuous ballet class, several mature ballerinas are deciding where to dine. One wanted a salad, typical ballerina fare, one wanted something breakfasty, perhaps smoked salmon and a bagel, one wished to have something with a Mexican flavor, maybe a chicken quesadilla, one wanted dessert, maybe some key lime pie and one could not wait to dig into a juicy burger. Our decision was easy to make, as we made our way to City Limits where an extensive and varied menu awaits. As you enter, note the inviting pastry display, which will certainly whet your appetite. Choose to dine at the bar or in the bright dining room at a booth or a table. They seat 270 guests. As you observe your surroundings, note the oversized City Limits cup and saucer, a staple of the restaurant since its opening 25 years ago.

Make yourself comfortable as you check out the large and varied menu. For the breakfast lover, the choices are many and are served throughout the day. Many egg dishes and omelets are very appealing. A vegetable frittata with potato, spinach, leeks, tomato and feta cheese, a chorizo sausage and egg quesadilla, and a Maryland lump crab and lobster cake benedict are all enticing. House smoked Atlantic salmon with bagel and cream cheese, and corned beef hash are very popular. For me, an orange lemon waffle, crisp and flavorful topped with fresh fruit and real maple syrup is my breakfast choice. This made from scratch waffle just can’t be beat.

I recently shared a wonderful tasting of City Limit’s treasures with Nick Livanos who explained that City Limits, Moderne Barn in Armonk and Molyvos, Ousia, and Oceana in Manhattan form The Livanos Restaurant Group. John Livanos, his dad, emigrated from Greece in 1957 and by 1960 opened his first restaurant. As they celebrate their 25 anniversary of City Limits, the third Livanos generation continues the legacy. Nick, Bill and Corina, John’s children are all involved in the business. Nick’s three children are part of the operations, as well.

Nick Livanos indicated,” We are true to diner characteristics since we serve breakfast all day. Add to this, the high quality restaurant style entrees. We owe our longevity to consistency, quality and diversity in our food. Through the years, we have found that seafood has become more popular. Our house smoked salmon and variety of burgers are favorites of our guests.” If Nick Livanos was dining here he might start with a salad followed by soy chili glazed Atlantic salmon. He might take home a seasonal fruit tart for dessert. He would have loved to share a dining experience at City Limits with Henry Fonda, whom he admired as an actor and a person. With the restaurant bustling at all times, the staff from the family , to the kitchen, to the dining room assure that everything is run efficiently in a warm and friendly manner.

Heading the kitchen is Executive Chef Juan Rodriguez. Born into a large family in El Salvador, he helped his mom in the kitchen. As a young teen, he harvested produce at a local farm. Upon arriving in New York, he worked his way up from prep work to executive chef. His dishes are varied and beautifully presented.

Our tasting started with several small plates and appetizers. Lobster wontons arrived as crisp pillows CLD Chicken QuesadillaChicken Quesadillaof fried won ton skins filled with fresh Maine lobster ready to dip into sweet and sour sauce or soy sauce. Fresno chilies and scallions added a bit of spice to these delightful morsels. Resting on a bed of crisp lettuce leaves, these were a perfect small plate to begin a meal with. House smoked pork provided the filling for nicely spiced quesadillas. Accompanied by sour cream, guacamole and pico de gallo, these flour tortilla “sandwiches” were divine. Topped with the tomato relish, guacamole and sour cream this was a great south of the border treat. Chicken empanadas with a thick corn dough shared the plate with a smooth avocado salsa , a mild red sauce and shredded pickled vegetables. Tuna tostadas arrived as sesame crusted slices of fresh tuna resting on a crisp flat fried wonton shell. Layered with a julienne of vegetables the tuna slices and a squiggle of wasabi soy dressing. This was a light very fresh start to our meal. Other starters waiting to be tried are beef tacos crispy shrimp, chipotle ribs, grilled octopus and a mid east vegetarian sampler.

In the past, I have loved spinach and endive salad with pear dressing, Oriental chicken salad, and roast turkey cobb salad which are among the unique salads offered. The burgers here are Black Angus beef and are juicy and delicious. Try the mushroom and Swiss cheese burger or the City Limits burger with bacon, grilled onion, cheddar cheese and bbq sauce. Sandwiches and wraps are numerous. Some of my favorites are house smoked pulled pork, sirloin steak sandwich and southwestern hanger steak wrap.

During our tasting, we moved on to a selection of pizza from their custom oven. There is a classic margherita, Bianca, mushroom and truffle and chicken with jalapeno. We opted for the shrimp pie. The nicely crisp crust was topped with mozzarella, mushrooms, olives and a generous sprinkling of shrimp and arugula, a very pleasant choice. We savored the soy glazed chili Atlantic salmon. A medium rare portion of salmon sat atop a combination of bok choy, bean sprouts, mushrooms and carrots. The salmon was garnished with fried taro root. It was a wonderful Asian flavored dish.Top quality steaks, New York Strip and Hanger steaks are offered with a variety of homemade sauces and side dishes.

A carefully selected choices of wines and beer and signature cocktails are awaiting you to accompany your meal.

CLD Glazed SalmonGlazed SalmonIt would be difficult to leave without sampling some of the tempting baked goods A rich layered chocolate and yellow cake slice embedded with hazelnut crunch, a seasonal strawberry and rhubarb individual tart and a rich and outstanding banana cream pie with a layer of chocolate and a mountain of freshly whipped cream are a few of the possibilities. Chocolate mousse torte, tiramisu, key lime pie French chocolate filled cookies, muffins, scones and artisanal breads fill the showcase. I love to leave with a shopping bag filled with focaccia, raisin walnut bread, carrot muffins and scones and perhaps a few double chocolate chip large cookies and some homemade peanut brittle. If a beverage is your idea of a treat, take a trip to the past and enjoy a New York Egg cream or a City Limits Milkshake with house made ice cream.

Celebration cakes of great beauty and catering services are offered here as well.
City Limits is a place to enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack Perhaps we should call it The Sky’s the Limit. This is not your ordinary diner. The inventive menu offers suggestions for every taste providing comfort foods as well as sophisticated dishes. Enjoy the City Limits experience with family and friends soon.

City Limits Diner
200 Central Avenue
White Plains
914 686 9000

A special note: Part of the Livanos family will be featured on Thursday evening at 9 PM on ABC's Family Food Fight.