The tablecloths have come off and the comfort food and 40 ounces are here. In a time of over-complication, we find ourselves at a crossroad of formal and informal dining. There will always be white tablecloth restaurants but a new form of dining has been born and it’s all about comfort. We had the pleasure of chatting with Chef David DiBari of The Cookery to learn about his eateries and find out what he is doing right.
Chef David DiBari lives by a certain philosophy that has been picked up by the rest of the culinary world. “Progress Towards A Greater Simplicity” is the philosophy that David lives
by and cooks by and it seems to be working. With this trend for simple cooking it’s no surprise that Chef DiBari has quickly made a name for himself in Westchester and The Hudson Valley.
Over the past few years, Chef David DiBari has committed himself to Westchester and specifically to Dobbs Ferry. David has had an extremely positive response to his dedication. The Cookery, The Parlor and Dough-Nation have all been major successes and are fundamentally on the right side of where the culinary world is going.
“I liked to play a lot of hooky when I was young and I would spend time with my grandmother cleaning the garden, weeding the garden, cleaning the peas, picking the tomatoes. And then we would just cook,” said DiBari. From there it was just passion, like most young Chefs, Chef DiBari had the passion and was attracted by the alternative lifestyle of being a professional Chef. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Chef DiBari started his career with Michael Lomonaco, at Windows On The World. After two years working with Lomonaco, Chef David popped around major kitchens like Aretsky’s Patroon, David Bouley’s Danube, Mario Batali’s Babbo Eastchester Fish Gourmet, and then Zuppa before he ventured on his own.
Now Chef DiBari has created a mini culinary empire in the adorable town of Dobbs Ferry. From The Cookery his authentic simplistic Italian restaurant to Dough Nation his wood fired mobile pizza food oven, or the Parlor, an incredibly cool Neapolitan pizza spot. All of David’s projects hold a level of creativity, simplicity, and comfort that David personifies in his food. It’s refreshing to see someone create their own template. “Cooking touches the senses. I love it and it’s amazing to be able to make people happy with something that I love to do, “said DiBari.
Over the past few years all of Chef DiBari’s Dobbs Ferry locations have been received with welcoming open arms by the surrounding community. “When we first opened, I thought why does this town want anything that I’m going to present? And it ended up being the complete opposite. It was something that they were looking for here and in the river towns river towns. But to answer your question, I was completely naive and I led with my passion and this is what I got and it was a beautiful thing.” said DiBari. The combination of simple food with bold flavors made his start in this town a major success. Which brings us back to his motto, progress towards greater simplicity, and how it applies to his food. “You can sort of push the limits and the boundaries by featuring dishes like lamb’s tongue or tripe on a menu, dishes that Americans might consider progressive, but that are really peasant food in so many other cultures. . . It’s what they eat on a regular basis. But you want to treat it beautifully and simply and make it sing on its own with the flavors that you apply to it,” said DiBari.
Which is exactly what he did with The Cookery. “The menu development was really just based on what equipment we had and what we could accomplish with it,” said DiBari. The Cookery has a well-blended diverse menu of neo-nostalgic Italian offerings. The menu is simple and tasteful, with a wide selection of offerings from their pork osso bucco with a crisp creamy white polenta and apple mustard or the “doughnut” with smoked pig’s head, bbq onion, basil, and spicy maple sauce. The menu is creative, simple, authentic and progressive all at the same time. Giving this 70 seat riverside spot a taste for everyone.
After two years of success at The Cookery, DiBari launched “DoughNation,” a mobile wood-fired, pizza oven. Come April 1st, DoughNation will be back on the pavement making its way to farmers’ markets, private and corporate events, and just gallivanting around Westchester and the Hudson Valley serving delicious Neapolitan pizza.
Chef DiBari’s most recent project has been the small, authentic, Neapolitan pizza spot The Parlor… While the concept for The Parlor is entirely different from The Cookery, it remains truthful and in line with DiBari’s larger philosophy. “We decided to do not only a really great technique and pizza but create really fun appetizers. Basically all inspired based off sitting on a couch and eating out of a bowl,” said DiBari. The décor is reminiscent of something you would see in your high school friend’s basement, equipped with lots of graffiti, posters of 80’s glamor rock and punk bands and targeted metal across the walls, you can even buy a 40oz. Colt 45 off the beer menu. And that’s exactly what the vibe is at The Parlor, it’s like you’re high school friend renovated his basement with a wood-fired oven. It’s familiar, it’s comfortable, and it’s fun.
Chef DiBari is certainly not finished either. “We are definitely looking to expand and actively looking for a new spot.” said DiBari. So keep your eyes out for what Chef David DiBari has planned next.