Sumptuous Sunday Brunch at Gaucho Grill

gaucho2Dinner at Gaucho Grill in White Plains has always been a favorite of mine. I recently decided to sample their Sunday brunch served from 11:30 to 3 P.M.. Armed with a healthy appetite I admired the overwhelming display of dishes, which transported me to the buffets at luxurious vacation resorts or at a fancy wedding reception. Gaucho Grill is known for its Argentinean and Italian dishes. The buffet includes dishes from these areas as well as international favorites. The choices include many staples, with the addition of lots of additional dishes which vary each week.

Owned by Alan Nussbaum and Maria Rubiano, Gaucho Grill is run with the aim of making their guests happy. " I feed my guests like I feed my family. We have many family groups enjoying our Sunday brunch. We stand out among many restaurant brunches because of our large variety of high quality dishes. Dishes are brought out in half trays and refilled often. This assures freshness. Nothing is sitting around, and the display is carefully attended to so it does not get messy and unappealing." Chef Thomas Pena heads the kitchen. He traces his roots to Mexico and has worked in many restaurant kitchens in Manhattan and Westchester. "I enjoy every area of my work. I never forget a taste. I add my own touch to traditional dishes."

brunch2On a recent Spring Sunday afternoon, a valet parked my car and I entered Gaucho Grill through the lounge area into the large center dining room. The black and white color scheme was accented by wall hangings of authentic Argentinean cowhide. We dined in the intimate wine cellar room with white linens and fresh flowers on each table. The outdoor patio is another fine option for your meal.

One view of the lavish Sunday brunch buffet, and I was hoping that my appetite could match the huge selection of beautifully displayed dishes. Enjoy a mimosa or perhaps some freshly brewed iced tea as you make your choices. With plate in hand, I started with the salads. Regulars on the buffet were caesar salad, house salad and strawberry goat cheese varieties. I chose a healthy quinoa salad, a traditional Greek salad and a refreshing and original apple salad. Tortilla Espagnole, a quiche like treasure was offered in both a sausage and a vegetarian style. They were a room temperature delight. A tray of roasted vegetables shared the plate. A couple of spoonful of tilapia ceviche and guacamole and I returned to my table, to enjoy this first round of tastes. I just could not resist the fresh ceviche and actually went back for a second helping. I passed on the varied cheese trays, and the table of mini bagels, cream cheese and jams, and moved on to see what delight awaited guests in the soup tureen. Few spoonsful of pureed pumpkin soup enhanced with amaretto was rich and delicious. My eyes and appetite moved on to the numerous silver chafing dishes of hot specialties. The selection included pasta, vegetable, fish and meat dishes. I had to start being very selective. Spicy mussels in a cognac sauce was delicious. It was amazing to me that the shellfish was not overcooked, but juicy and filled with flavor even though it was served buffet style. Tilapia oreganata was mild and satisfying. Sausage and peppers was a fine classic. Meatballs shared a chafing dish with roasted potatoes and each was tasty, as well. In a Latin vein, sautéed plantains in a syrupy sauce were a pleasant accompaniment to these hot dishes. Beef with mushrooms and onions, Italian style chicken and penne chipotle primavera were offered, as well. A display of a variety of breads was a work of art.

It was time to sweeten the palate with some All American French toast. Here it was thick slices of challah stuffed with fresh blueberries and cream cheese, fried to a golden crisp and served with fresh blueberry sauce. This was surely a winner. Sweets were varied from bread pudding, rugelach, eclairs, petit fours, cookies and brownies. The bread pudding was very rich and divine but the more sensible choice for me was a selection from the fine platters of fresh fruit and berries. As I returned to my table, I noted that I had missed something. At the back of the dining room was Chef Pena and members of the kitchen staff preparing a variety of custom omelets, and fresh pancakes with fruit or chocolate chips , a favorite with the children. Pernil, Latin roast pork was sliced to order , as well, just in the event that you didn't have enough to eat.

There are choices for all at this sumptuous brunch. Home I went, donned a pair of sneakers and took a long walk to work off the calories. It was worth it.

Of course, let me remind you that lunch and dinner with its Latin and Italian specialties of meat or seafood paellas and outstanding steaks, and much more await you throughout the week.

Enjoy a leisurely Sunday brunch at Gaucho Grill, where the stylishly presented dishes are sure to please.

1 North Broadway
White Plains
437 9966







2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsps.olive oil
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed
1 shot cognac
10 ounces tomato basil sauce{ homemade or your favorite brand}
6 ounces heavy cream
Pinch salt

In a large pot, saute the garlic in oil. Add the mussels, cognac, tomato basil sauce and cream and salt to taste. Lower the heat and simmer, covered for about 5 minutes, or until the mussel shells open. Discard any that do not open. Serve.

½ pound cooked shrimp, cleaned and shelled
2 ounces red onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro leaves
2 ounces chopped peppers, red, orange and green
3 ounces chopped mango
2 ounces fresh lemon juice
2 ounces mango puree
1 ounce fresh orange juice
2 ounces fish broth
Salt and pepper, to taste.

In a non reactive bowl place peppers, onions and mango. Add lemon juice, mango puree and orange juice. Mix well. Toss in the shrimp Add salt and pepper to taste. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Serve with cilantro on top.

JudieJudie Dweck has been writing about restaurants and food for many publications. She teaches creative cooking to children at Scarsdale elementary schools. Through the years, her articles have appeared in Jack and Jill Magazine, Spotlight, The Pleasure of Cooking and The Scarsdale Inquirer. She balances her restaurant tastings with daily ballet classes.