Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tony Angello's: Is It Worth It?

Nostalgia swings both ways. The warm, fuzzy feelings of yesteryear can smooth over any wrinkles in the tablecloth or salve an overcooked piece of fish. But on the flip side, a longing for the experience of days gone past can color any experience as deficient and not up to par. My previous run ins with Tony Angello's  consisted of the following.

I went to kindergarten around the corner from the restaurant. Every now and then, when the weather was nice and we hadn't been monsters, we would walk over to Mr. Tony's and eat ice cream outside his kitchen. The other memory of Tony Angello's (which it is always called by everyone) was at a family dinner when my sisters, cousins and I ran around outside while the adults ate and drank. So needless to say, nostalgia would not tug one way or the other for this visit.

First things first, the setting of the restaurant cloaks your dining experience in comfort. The bar is off to the right as you enter, a dining room anchored by columns and a fire place off to the left. The carpet and flickering candles create softness and warmth. The menu comes in time, but not before a pre-dinner cocktail. The young waitstaff is comfortable with fastballs, but occasionally struggle with a curve. Witness a request for a Negroni, "No, we don't have that the only import we have is Peroni."

The Negroni, however, arrived shortly thereafter and the meal was off. First came a huge tangle of crispy calamari, which were better on their own rather than dunked in the watery marinara. Next, an appetizer plate with angel hair pasta bathed in a crabby, red sauce. The chunks of crab bring fatty sweetness and salinity to the party, acting much like a shaving of parmesan. The Lobster Cup has been much lauded over, but it was too one dimensional. Just a ramekin of rich, buttery topping devoid of any lobster flavor, it needed a counterpart. 

Two salads were noticeable because they were well done. Crisp, cold greens tossed in a minimal amount of dressing and served quickly before the leaves have a chance to wilt. If it is the simple things, than Tony Angello's was already proving they do them well. The broth in the minestrone soup united the disparate elements of brisket and vegetables. 

Cannelloni came draped in more of that red sauce, the pasta fitting around ricotta and spinach like a bespoke suit. A cube of eggplant Tina sat next to it, but as largely ignored. On a separate plate was a perfect slice of crispy veal glazed with garlic, peppers, and mushrooms, a delicious combination for the ages. 

Lindsay settled into the tough task of tackling a brick of eggplant parmigiana. She got halfway through it before passing it over to me. The crispy layers of eggplant were separated with oozing layers of cheese and yet again, red sauce. We ended things with a small plate of tart and creamy lemon ice box pie that was nearly the best thing we ate all night. 

The prices are low, the room comfortable, the food solidly executed. This is just an honest restaurant. I came in without any expectation and left ready to return. 

Tony Angello's: Worth It? Definitely.
6262 Fleur de Lis Dr.


Anonymous said...

100% agree. Definitely worth it.

Anonymous said...

Often overlooked, but I always leave thinking- "Why don't we eat here more often?"

Jones said...

Agreed that it's a great venue with solid food, just wished the damn wine list was given more attention. The next bump up from the flacid $52/btl of Chianti is a $92/btl Barolo. Guess that's what you get when their biggest seller is the Santa Margherita PG...

Next time, try their carbonara (not on the menu, but just ask) and the cold beef brisket salad.