What was once an Albertson Italian restaurant called La Gondola has gone New American and is now called Avenue Cafe. While its concept has changed, the place remains under the ownership of Croatia-born Vlado Vidas, who said he aims to offer "something for every taste."
On a recent weeknight, I found a warm and attractive setting and a menu both varied and affordable — especially the $19.95 three-course prix fixe, offered Sunday to Thursday.
Three of us ordered from that menu. As one who prefers dark- to white-meat chicken, I opted for a thigh stuffed with wild mushrooms, apples and Swiss in a dry white wine apple sauce. Pretty good, if rather heavy on the sauce. (Note to self: Next time, request sauce on the side.)
A friend’s tilapia filet sauteed with mango in Champagne sauce was fresh — pleasing to her, if a bit sweet for me — but also over-sauced. And peppercorn-crusted “filet mignon" of pork in a Brandy demiglaze was properly juicy and peppery. Accompaniments for all three were identical: roasted potatoes, carrots and string beans. Unimaginative but, at $19.95, not objectionable. Better than the merely OK cheesecake and soggy apple strudel was a lovely crème brûlée.
In all, the meal was quite a bargain.
Avenue Cafe is at 875 Willis Ave., Albertson, 516-741-7940, avenuecafeli.com