When you have been in the food industry for a while, cooking, writing and eating, your friends and family look to you for suggestions on places to eat, what’s new and interesting, as well as my thoughts on places they might like. They also keep a place or two up their sleeves to hit me with when I visit. I always have the food and service critic hat on, both a gift and a curse, so when a restaurant hits all the marks, for me that is something I love to bring to you.

After too long of a hiatus I hopped on Metro North to visit with my 25-year plus college road-dog, friend, sister and confidant Marjorie and her handsome twins. I was prepared just to be at the house and have a good chat session over libations. However, Mrs. M had other plans, which included the boys going out with their aunt and her having some adult time with her friend over a meal that didn’t include chicken nuggets, fries or ketchup.

We pulled up to Polpettina (@PolpettinaPizza, 147 Larchmont Ave., 914-341-1460, www.polpettina.com) on a rainy afternoon. The exterior resembled a modern tavern with its paned window and wrought iron façade. We dashed inside quickly and found an open bar and kitchen, reclaimed wood and skylights. I was taken with the raw wood tabletops, with the bark still on, which we found out all came from one tree.

The menu, in placemat form, lay before us but our quick drink order came from the blackboard special—watermelon sangria! “Two please!” My eyes danced across the menu, from the small plates and salads to the meatballs and pastas, from the fries to the entrees and pizza. There were so many dishes to enjoy that were both traditional and nontraditional Italian. Marjorie gave a knowing smile, having accomplished wowing her food critic friend.

(SCHOP! Tip) Because I had not been to Polpettina before, I asked our server what the best sellers were and what she liked on the menu—always a good place to start for some direction. Our server’s answers were our first courses.

We started with their Caesar salad of crisp romaine hearts, house-made dressing, parmesan and croutons and their crispy eggplant chips with wildflower honey and sea salt. Salad was creamy but tangy, and those eggplant chips, which were thin-sliced, battered and fried, were a unique experience I am still trying to wrap my head around.

Marjorie and I did not rush through our time at Polpettina. We decided it would be a tasting meal to be slowly enjoyed while we caught up on everything. Our next two courses had to involve the restaurant’s namesake, a meatball, plus octopus and finally one of their unique pizzas. Get all the deets on the blog at www.TalkingSCHOP.wordpress.com.

Happy eating and thanks for reading!

Kysha Harris is a food writer, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service offering weekly and in-home entertaining packages. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations! Email her at kysha@SCHOPnyc.com, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @SCHOPgirl or on Facebook www.facebook.com/SCHOPnyc. For even more recipes, tips and food musings subscribe to her blog at www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com. Follow AmNewsFOOD @NYAmNewsFOOD.