Sometimes a restaurant pleases on so many nonculinary levels, the food becomes secondary, which explains why I so enjoyed my lunch recently at Pomodorino in Huntington. (There used to be Pomodorini in New Hyde Park, Seaford and Hauppauge, but now Huntington, the second to open, alone bears the torch.)
The first thing you notice when you walk in is the floor, pictured above, a riot of colorful tiles that, upon closer inspection, reveal themselves to have been very carefully planned. (My colleague Joan Reminick recalled that the floor was installed by the location’s first tenant, Conrad’s Bar & Grill.)
Half of the restaurant is occupied by a gleaming bar, the other half is divided into two cozy tiers, complete with a fireplace. There’s more fire in the wood-burning oven and the homey smell of wood smoke subtly pervades the air. Waiters are friendly, fountain sodas are well-carbonated, prices are gentle. We ate well for less than $25 a head.
The food? It was fine. The Margherita pizza, from the wood-burning oven, was, if anything, topped too sparsely: there were a few bald spots where neither cheese nor tomato grew. Caesar salad was pizzeria-standard, “house” salad, drenched in balsamic (sadly, also standard). Veal Francese had good flavor, if the scallopine were on the tough side; sauteed tilapia was surprisingly good, as was its accompanying broccoli raab. I ordered the lasagna, a “specialita della Mamma," solely because the menu stated it was made with meat sauce, Parmesan and béchamel sauce. (That’s the way they do it in Bologna, no ricotta, no mozzarella.) But when it showed up I could not discern any béchamel, and it was topped with mozzarella. For all that, it was pretty good.
But what I loved most about Pomodorino was ladies’ room. Instead of music, the management has piped in Italian lessons so you can learn how to say “I’ll take the red pants,” or “I’m sorry; I’m busy this afternoon” while you go about your business.
Pomodorino is at 326 W. Jericho Tpke., Huntington; 631-425-1196.