Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cafe Formaggio Carle Place, NY

Cafe Formaggio
307 Old Country Rd, Carle Place, NY 11514
TEL: 516-333-1718

Two Italians, a Filipino, and a Hawaiian walk into an Italian restaurant...

This may sound like the opening to a joke, but there was nothing funny about Cafe Formaggio in
Carle Place, New York. Growing up, I frequently ate at Spago which was the previous
restaurant at this location. It was a delicious family style Italian restaurant, which
received two thumbs up from this girl! Perhaps it was the attachment to the old
establishment, or the fact that the parking lot only has valet, either way it has taken us
over a year to eat there. This week’s goal was to find a delicious Italian restaurant, so
that chains like Olive Garden can stop making money off of insulting dishes, and a real
home cooked spot can benefit for a change..........Let’s dig in.....

After valet parking our car, we were greeted by two young girls who were the
hostesses. We were unable to be seated because the other “two-some” of our “foursome”
(Let’s keep it PG people) were running fashionably late. When our table was ready our
friends were still on there way, but one of the girls showed us to our table saying, “I
don’t want you to have to wait again for another table.” I was pleased by her kindness in
accommodating us because rarely can you be seated without your full party.

Shortly after being seated, our waiter greeted us. and then....HALLELUJAH! A bread basket was placed in front of us filled with garlic knots, focaccia and mini pizzas. It also came with a side dish of olives, homemade hummus, and chunks of Parmesan cheese! Oh how I love my
Italian heritage!

The menu reads like a book. Seriously, I think that every Italian dish ever created
was on it, so be prepared to feel slightly overwhelmed. Order yourself a fun frozen cocktail or a glass of wine to make the process a bit easier.

A common cuisine misconception is that Italian food easy to make, but I completely disagree with that philosophy. In fact, I am never satisfied with Italian food because in my mind no one
makes it better than Mommy!

Did Cafe Formaggio fill our tummies with satisfaction? Relax everyone; let’s
break it down for you starting with some appetizers. Your usual antipasto, fried zucchini,
and mozzarella are on there, but meatball sliders in a puff pastry, what?!?! Four mini meatballs rolled our way, and boy was I delighted! The meatball itself was great; it had excellent flavor with perfect consistency, and a beautifully red traditional sauce! The puff pastry bun was also a hit, put it together and what do you got, meaty-ball-boppity-boo! Just don’t make the same mistake that my friend Jess did by attempting to cut the slider in half.....I know and she’s a pastry chef! Leave it whole and enjoy two delightful bites!

The calamari arrabiata came out, and it was tossed in hot cherry peppers with a roasted garlic and marinara sauce. The deep fried calamari was swimming in the delicious sauce, while the peppers gave it the right amount of kick. I would definitely recommend this classic dish with a bit of a spin. Make sure you have more than 2 people eating this appetizer. It was quite filling, but delicious!
Off to a promising start with a scrumptious meatball and a tasty traditional marina
sauce we were excited about the main course. For me, I stuck with pasta ordering the
ravioli alla verde: fresh homemade ravioli in a spinach cream sauce. Upon first glance, I
was slightly frightened by the green eggs and ham color of the sauce, but the old saying
holds true, Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover. The ravioli was awesome and fresh, and if
they weren’t, well then kudos for fooling me. They were cooked perfectly in a full of
flavor sauce. I am quite a fan of spinach, but this increased my love of the vegetable
with it’s depth of savory goodness.

All pasta dishes range from $15-$25 which in my mind will never be fully justified. Solely because I know how inexpensive pasta is, BUT with the enormous serving sizes that they provide you with you will feel less jipped.

The other Italian ordered the chicken rolladue; A chicken breast stuffed with
ricotta spinach topped with melted mozzarella on a bed of mashed potatoes in a madeira
wine sauce. The chicken was juicy and delectable with a tasty spinach stuffing. The
sauce, which resembled a marsala sauce, was on point as well. This was a very
successful dish which was enhanced by a classic mashed potato side. After all, isn’t
everything better when mashed potatoes are on the plate?

The Hawaiian went up against the Veal Osso Bucco: Veal Shank served over
Italian risotto with a demi glaze sauce. The shank was super tender, and sat right on top of the risotto, allowing all its flavors to soak right into the risotto with the peas and carrots. The shank even came with marrow in bone, served with a little fork to make it easier to eat the delectable goodness. It was a little bit of a pricier dish, but if you want your shake for your shank, try it out!

Dino the Filipino tried the veal parmigiana. Here’s hoping I don’t have to explain
what parmigiana is to our readers, am I right? This dish can easily be unpleasant
when eaten out, but this was just like grandmas! Tender slices of veal came out, which you couldn't even tell, as it was smothered in mozzarella and pomodoro sauce. Along side was a mixture of vegetables and some roasted potatoes. This was your classic veal parm dish, although Dino said he would rather have had it with some pasta instead. The vegetables seemed out of place, and the potatoes needed some ketchup, not pomodoro sauce. Nonetheless, it certainly filled his belly.

The meal ended on a high note, as our stomachs were too full to attempt the
dessert menu. With the usual options of cheesecake, tiramisu or cannoli there weren’t
any items worth unbuttoning our pants for (so to speak).

The decor leaves little to be desired, and it could use a face lift. I’d say it’s going for a Tuscan feel, but the dreary drapes and curtains surrounding the space created a boring vibe overall. If Jeffery Lewis from Flipping Out walked in there, he wouldn’t be impressed that’s for sure.

We loved the staff as they were both friendly and attentive. My water glass
always remained full, and our table was quickly cleared. An applause to you, Cafe
Formaggio for satisfying not one but two stubborn Italian stomachs! Oh and the
Hawaiian and Filipino were also pleased =) DnA Approved! If the prices were a bit
lower, we’d be regulars, but with entrees in the $17-$25 range, I think we’ll still be
having Sunday dinner at home with an occasional bite at Cafe Formaggio.

Ciao For Now,

With Extra Love,


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