Sometimes a good waiter can make the meal.
I dined last night at Antonette’s, the new East Hills outpost of the Italian restaurant with branches in Bellmore and Rockville Centre. The restaurant opened June 12 and is, understandably, still working out kinks.
Antonette’s has a good wine list, full of interesting bottles at reasonable prices. I ordered an arneis. Our waiter returned from the cellar and informed me they were out of it. So I went with a Greco di Tufo (out) and then a Vermentino (out). I was getting exasperated. “Please,” said the waiter. “Come with me.” Together we visited the cellar (well, a nice-sized cooler) and decided on a pinot bianco from Alois Lageder.
Highlights of the meal included two little local squid stuffed with seafood and served in a creamy lobster sauce, a plate of tender, gutsy tripe. Less successful was a grilled pork chop, tender but seemingly brined into wateriness, a cold calamari salad whose star had little taste. Pasta alla Norma was standard.
When a busboy approached to sprinkle my spaghetti in clam sauce with grated cheese, my hero the waiter noted my horror and waved his colleague away. That dish was standard, too.
For dessert, we split a Napoleon that had been assembled to order from fresh-baked pastry, homemade custard and chocolate sauce. Our waiter scored points by not denying that the whipped cream was out of a can. But the kitchen lost points.
Antonette’s takes over the large, freestanding building that for decades housed L’Endroit. That restaurant was succeeded in 2007 by the ambitious but short-lived Brivo and then, in 2008, by Table 9, originally owned by the partners of Piccolo in Huntington and Mill Pond House in Centerport, sold in 2010, and closed in 2011.
Antonette’s of East Hills is at 290 Glen Cove Rd., Roslyn, 516-626-6490.