A silver globe-shaped weathervane, reminiscent of the classic RKO Radio logo, crowns the Carlyle At The Palace's art-deco façade, where geometric shapes and pops of color hint at the glamour within. Through a lobby styled in honor of the Chrysler building, Deco 1600's dining room continues the old-fashioned elegance with votive candles and a wall of beveled mirrors.
In the kitchen, chefs captained by restaurateur Steve Carl craft panini and pizza lunches, then simmer short ribs in chianti, slather racks of lamb with minted pesto, and slow-cook risottos of the day for dinner. Wines imported from Italy, Argentina, and France complement meals, as well as doff their corks in Deco 1600's sleek upstairs event space, where white-leather banquettes, chandeliers, and foiled wallpaper set a chic scene.
Pomodorino Ristorante Italiano strives to emulate an Old-World trattoria, serving a menu of iconic Italian favorites in an atmosphere where, according to the Long-Islander, “everyone is treated as a friend and regulars are treated like family.” The chefs capture this homey vibe in cuisine form by hand-rolling meatballs, simmering pots of tomato sauce from scratch, and crowning entrees with scraps of imported parmesan cheese. They also fire up a wood-burning brick oven to bake pizzas to a golden crisp and transform lasagnas into melty, cheese-laden meals.
The dining room embraces a similarly casual approach with red-checkered tablecloths and a ceiling-mounted trellis, which supports an intricate web of vines and strings of twinkling lights. The bar area’s shelving extends almost to the ceiling. Bartenders surmount the altitude obstacle by climbing a sliding librarian’s ladder to retrieve the treasures that line the topmost shelves: bottles of spirits and anything Paul Bunyan happened to drop when he was in the restaurant.
The chefs at Zaro's Café import the Mediterranean flavors of Greece and Italy onto plates brimming with Old World flavor. After perusing the extensive menu, dish archaeologists can excavate the Greek moussaka's layers of eggplant, potato, and ground beef doused in a béchamel sauce ($15.50), or an assortment of pastas that includes penne salmon, tossed with asparagus drenched in a roasted-pepper pink sauce ($15.95). Five models of tzatziki-topped gyros putt-putt toward mouths, from traditional to a hot, whole-wheat vegetarian gyro, stuffed with grilled asparagus, zucchini, white onion, and lettuce ($9.25). Neapolitan and square Sicilian pizza pies are available whole or by the slice, and calzones, rolls, and stromboli transport dough-wrapped flavor to mouths directly from the Boot. Or stamp culinary passports with Italian entrees, with classic options including veal marsala—veal medallions as tender as constructive criticism—sautéed with marsala wine and fresh mushrooms ($18.95).
For almost half a century, Rose and Frank DiMartino and their equally able staff have been unfurling handrolled Neapolitan and Sicilian crusts, piled high with pizza-appropriate ingredients. Using family recipes brought over from Napoli, the brick oven torch is now carried stalwartly forward by their four children. Thin- and thick- rimmed crusts are laden with old standbys, including sausage, pepperoni, meatballs, anchovies, and peppers found on the Pappardelle’s supreme ($19.95/neopolitan) or more elaborate garnishments like fresh eggplant ($17.50/neopolitan). Beyond sauce-ensconced saucers, Pappardelle's invites diners to orally explore Italy with fresh salads ($6.25–$13.95), pasta al forno ($9.25–$14.95), and meaty entrees ($7.95–$20.75).
In the kitchens of Torcellos Restaurant, cooks splash wine sauces over seafood, veal, and dishes from an extensive menu of Italian favorites. As traditional or whole-wheat pastas wind around forks, Italian entrees of veal, chicken, and fish fillet sauté in savory wine sauces. Patrons can promote sharing with a catering package, which offers dinner for up to 60 people or a late-night snack for one competitive eating champion.
A Long Island native born into an Italian American family, Joseph Balbo knew early on that he wanted to devote his life to cooking. He honed his skills at the Italian Culinary Institute in Calabria, learning to combine traditional, Old World sensibilities with a New World spirit of innovation. Now manning the stovetops at Porto Vivo, which the New York Times called “Huntington’s latest hot spot,” in 2009, Chef Balbo runs a kitchen that has served numerous celebrities, including Serena Williams, celebrity chef Todd English, and Billy Joel.
The menu brims with familiar yet refined Italian staples, such as lobster ravioli with shaved black truffle and parmesan-crusted veal milanese. The chefs also demonstrate their creativity by glazing pan-seared Alaskan halibut with a yuzu vinaigrette and frying grappa-soaked grapes. To accompany this range of flavors, the restaurant also features an extensive wine list, which earned Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. The selection emphasizes Italian producers, but it also boasts an array of bottles sourced elsewhere, including rare Californian wines as well as a first-growth bordeaux.
In many ways, the decor dovetails with the cuisine in its elegance and bringing together of disparate yet complementary elements. The clean, modern space features multiple levels, with high ceilings, taupe walls, leather booths, rich wood accents, and exposed brick.
True to its name, Crossroads marks the intersection of two seemingly dissimilar hangouts: it houses an elegant dining room clad in black linens and yellow wall sconces where pastas, steaks, and seafood are served, as well as a sports bar stocked with pub grub. As Crossroads' famous marinated skirt steak and seafood fra diavolo top plates in the dining room, the bar's 15 TVs—each one baked fresh that day in time for the game—join a jukebox in wooing eyes and ears. Special events include visits from a local medium who tries to connect clients with the afterlife, get-togethers to cheer on the Rangers and Jets, and holiday meals.