A salad of kale, shaved Brussels sprouts and roasted pears...

A salad of kale, shaved Brussels sprouts and roasted pears at American Beauty in the Park, a new bistro in Massapequa Park Credit: Newsday/Scott Vogel

“WELCOME!” sang the host loudly at a certain Long Island establishment the other day, greeting patrons with open arms and hyper-enthusiasm. It was as off-putting as another recent exchange with a maitre d’ whose text messaging we’d had the audacity to interrupt, and who then raced us to our table without so much as a word.

That hospitality involves being hospitable is a notion too many restaurants refuse to accept, so that when a place gets it right, you can’t help cheering. So cheers to American Beauty, which recently opened a Massapequa Park location, its third, having previously established itself in Massapequa proper (2016) and Bellmore (2019).

“I can tell in the first 30 seconds to three minutes if they’re going to be a good server or not,” said Maria Pallotta, who owns all three American Beauties along with her husband Michael Cassano and Skip Curth. “I can teach people how to use a point-of-sale system, I can teach people what’s on my menu. I can’t teach you to have a bubbly, great personality at the table.”

It helps too when your team’s bubbliness is genuine, and Pallotta’s servers have much to be bubbly about. All of Pallotta’s restaurants excel at housemade ricotta with grilled peaches on a crostini ($15); as well as fried shrimp tossed in Thai chiles, ginger, soy and crushed peanuts ($18); cauliflower “steak” with a cashew coating accompanied by a roasted pepper hummus ($13); and a fine salad of shaved Brussels sprouts and kale, highlighted by roasted pears, pecans, and avocado ($16). The house burger is an American Beauty signature ($21). 

But evenings bring a fine dining menu and vibe — or rather “non-pretentious fine dining,” as she put it — to the Park location, where chef John Orphanos is executing a justly popular beef Wellington ($45) that on Mondays features a wildly popular price point ($30). Housemade pastas are worth seeking out as well, as demonstrated by the fettuccine carbonara ($32), rigatoni Bolognese ($30) and more. American Beauty in the Park’s atmosphere is unavoidably different from its daytime brunch scene, but not completely so. Indeed, the fine bonhomie of its front of house staff is on display at all hours, and as integral to the place’s experience as everything else. As Pallotta put it simply, “My husband always says good food can’t make up for bad service.”

American Beauty in the Park is at 1026 Park Blvd. in Massapequa Park, 516-541-1075, americanbeautyrestaurants.com. Opening hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily for brunch; dinner Monday through Thursday 4:30-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 4:30-11 p.m. and Sunday 4:30-9 p.m.

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