The noise level is high at this family-friendly spot with lively Italian fare and a ... More »
When the reward is lots of lusty Italian fare at moderate prices, people don't mind waiting for a table. At Butera's, expect to add your name to a long list.
Service is usually smooth, with such niceties as a gratis platter of grilled vegetables arriving promptly with the breadbasket.
That basket contains fragrant garlic knots and rosemary-dusted focaccia fresh from the oven and lightly glossed with olive oil. The kitchen's skill is also evident in its priazza, a double-crusted stuffed pizza-like wedge filled with a lush melt of eggplant, tomato sauce and mozzarella. Caesar salad is distinctive, as is the crisp calamari with a spicy tomato sauce. An appetizer of exotic mushrooms with fresh mozzarella bruschetta makes for a savory treat. Fine, too, are mussels with tomatoes, garlic and white wine.
A main-course salad of juicy, smoky grilled chicken over mesclun and frisee manages to be both light and substantial. Another winning choice is the chicken Parmigiana, a standby made with care and respect. If the "light" selection of the day is grilled mahi-mahi over penne with roasted peppers, spinach and mushrooms, know that it's terrific. You'll be wowed, too, by the simple but marvelous rigatoni with eggplant and sausage capped with melted mozzarella.
Desserts are a treat, thanks to an on-staff pastry chef. Try the molten chocolate cake, served with freshly whipped cream.
Note that Butera's also has branches in Seaford and Smithtown worth checking out. --Joan Reminick (02/25/2000)