Location: The Fox Hollow, 7725 Jericho Tpke. Woodbury, NY 11797
Description: Located in Woodbury's Fox Hollow is Volpe Ristorante, a traditional Italian restaurant. The traditionally furnished, ... More »
Volpe's den is one floor up at Fox Hollow, tucked into the sprawling inn and catering complex.
So, the question, in a region with more Italian restaurants than some cities outside Rome: Why would you eat here?
Yes, several of the world's great restaurants are in hotels. That's not the issue, although your first impression may be of the office party or the awards dinner that's ready to spill into the parking lot.
Then again, perhaps you want to contemplate a site for a soon-to-be cocktail hour, within eyeshot of the little garden area. Maybe there's a wedding in the future and you need a comfortable place to think it through, and quickly book the reception.
If so, Volpe is for you. This ristorante takes in a traditionally furnished, very polite dining room that could be serving the continental cooking that once defined haute Long Island; and a barroom that's a bit more modern and frequently accompanies dinner with live music. Servers are experienced and friendly wherever your table may be.
But the main reason really to visit Volpe is "Lobster Wednesdays."
That's when Volpe serves a three-course dinner centered around the Maine mascot, either steamed, broiled, stuffed or turned fra diavolo. Included are a soup and a salad. The price ranges from $26 for a 11/4-pounder steamed or broiled to $47 for a 2-pounder, packed with crabmeat or red-sauced with a side of linguine, shrimp and clams. The stuffed one is very good; the fra diavolo, better than most, despite limp pasta.
Next visit: "Prime Rib Thursdays."
The a la carte fare is available six days. From it, the shrimp cocktail is easily recommended; and the fritto misto of shrimp, squid and zucchini arrives gilded and crisp. Baked clams are satisfactory; red-sauced eggplant Siciliana, tasty and to the point. New England-style clam chowder improves on the bland onion soup under a lid of melted mozzarella. A near-translucent sheet of prosciutto drapes over unripe melon.
Executive chef Antonio Cinicola prepares a savory paccheri alla Barese. The pasta is similar to oversized rigatoni, matched with broccoli raab and sausage. Rigatoni Siciliana is its rival, finished with eggplant, tomato, basil and olive oil. But skip the dull, pasty lobster risotto al forno.
Shrimp Francese, akin to piccata minus capers, is a generous, mild and dependable entre. Likewise, the mild, grilled branzino; and the tender filet mignon. Roast duck, however, needs a livelier orange sauce.
None of the desserts boldly demands your attention, but the crème brûlée and tiramisu handily outdo the overdone cheesecake and respectable chocolate cake.
Skip them on lobster night.