TODAY'S PAPER
Few Clouds 21° Good Morning
Few Clouds 21° Good Morning
Long IslandSuffolkHuntington Ny

Sal's Ristorante review

Pizzetta Caprese is crisp and tasty at Sal's

Pizzetta Caprese is crisp and tasty at Sal's Ristorante in Smithtown. (Jan. 11, 2014) Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

LOCATION INFO

1012 Jericho Tpke. Smithtown, NY 11787

631-543-6000

salsofsmithtown.com

Cost

$$ (Moderate)

Ambience

Very Good

Service

Good

Description

A cozy and comfortable spot in Smithtown is Sal's Ristorante, an Italian restaurant serving up ... More »

A red exclamation point punctuates the sign of Sal's Ristorante, which brightens a bleak stretch of road in Smithtown. On wintry nights, the place has a certain radiance, its butternut squash-colored walls hung with resolutely cheerful art. Settle into one of the comfortable upholstered booths and order a glass of wine -- plus a focaccia pillow.

What you'll get is a big pouf of baked pizza dough topped with a zesty garlic, oil and herb mixture. Owner Salvatore Formica describes it as the fortunate outcome of a baking accident. Whatever its origins, it's hard to stop tearing off just another piece. Consider, as well, a personal-sized Napolitana pizzetta whose puffy-crisp crust is crowned with a bright meld of tomato sauce and mozzarella.

But rice balls here are leaden, flavorless. And both the minestrone and Italian wedding soup are underseasoned, as well.

Sharing a plate at lunch: A gummy and bland rendition of ricotta-stuffed manicotti and a lush and satisfying version of chicken Parmigiana. An odd couple. Meat lasagna is a classic, respectfully rendered. Better yet, one night, is the vibrant vegetable lasagna.

Executive chef Pedro Alvarez shows his skill in the pork chop ala cherry peppers -- thick, meaty, juicy and topped with a rousing marinara-hot pepper mix. Savory though it may be, however, bone-in chicken scarpariello turns up with more bones than meat.

Gnocchi Bolognese possesses that light, melting quality you look for in semolina dumplings. And occhi del bue arrabbiata -- short rigatoni in a spicy garlic and olive-laced red sauce -- delivers up just the right fiery kick.

The only house-made dessert, most nights, is cannoli. Otherwise, you'll find commercially sourced finales, among them a hazelnut truffle and a chocolate fondant layer cake. Not terrible; just boring.

In the end, what puts the exclamation point on Sal's is its inherent warmth. It's where you want to be on a chilly night.

Latest Long Island News

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to Newsday is free for Optimum customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE