We’ve been here at least a dozen times over the years, since it’s in the neighborhood. It’s a pretty place, with tablecloths, flowers, candles and a fireplace. However, it’s not on the Hudson River, it’s on the Westside Highway. And as my friends learned when trying to speak Italian to the wait staff there, they didn’t understand Italian, as they are Albanians. And the food, which is inventive and pretty good, isn’t Venetian, which is clean, far less complicated, and not over-sauced, as the food at Antica Venezia tends to be.
The evening really begins when The Maître D gives a dramatic presentation of the specials for the evening while the wait staff stands around the room and watch. He does this for each table, who respond with varying degrees of good humor and tolerance, until he hands out the menus, when upon discussion, between the filet of sole on the menu and the dover sole special he waves away the menu sole, saying there in no comparison urging us to the Dover Sole Special. The delicately fried zucchini offered before the meal is exceptional. The salads were excellent. The lobster ravioli was heavy and mostly rubbery dough, which after the Maître D’s dramatic description of this dish was a huge disappointment. The wine was fine. The veal was good and flavorful, the salmon fresh and well presented. But the Dover Sole special was rubbery and lost in a heavy tomato-spicy, olive laden concoction that covered it. Coffee and Express were perfect. The deserts, not so great, the kind you get frozen and thaw out in a microwave.
The service is overbearingly attentive. It seems many diners enjoy a meal where waiters and bus boys stand watching your every move as you eat and drink, waiting for a cue to refill your glass, replace a fallen fork, or clear the table. I prefer service that disappears then appears when we raise our heads. The restaurant fills with mostly groups of four or more, at round lovely tables. Many come to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. The patrons come from the neighborhood and it seems like a lot of tourists as well. The room feels festive, but even when full you can still hear the conversation at your table.
When the check came we were in for a shock: The filet of sole on the regular menu was $24.95. The Dover Sole special was $45.00 Same amount of the same fish, different sauce. Almost twice the price. So watch out with the specials here. Ask their cost. We didn’t. Dinner for 4 with a bottle of wine, 2 bottles of mineral water, appetizers, main dishes and three desserts came to $430.00. Aside from the issues raised above, and the sticker shock on the Dover Sole Special, we did enjoy our time there. So, make sure you ask the price of the specials, then go ahead and enjoy the rest.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.