For Italian, Matteo’s Is The Place To Be
By Leah Weinstein/
In the Foodie world, the term “family
style” means that diners can expect that dishes will
be delivered to the center of the table for everyone to share.
At Matteo’s of Huntington, one of seven restaurants
owned by Sal Sorrentino, the term family style is more of
a description of… well, of everything. Sure, portions
are large enough that diners often share entrees, and just
like home, there’s plenty of plate passing and cross-table
reaching. But family style at Matteo’s is a better description
of how you get treated – whether you’re a long-time
customer or a first-time visitor. The atmosphere’s friendly,
staff is accommodating and the menu… it’s often
just a starting point for dishes cooked to order.
“We hardly put menus on the table,” said Will
Vitale, managing partner of the Huntington location, one of
seven family-owned Matteo’s restaurants that include
Roslyn, Long Beach, Bellmore and Hewlett on Long Island, Howard
Beach in Queens, and two in Florida.
For five years Vitale helped run the Matteo’s in Roslyn
until a year and a half ago when he moved east. Vitale has
been working in the business since he was 18, and his brothers
work at the restaurant, too.
Everything is made to order and it shows. The fresh fish arrives
daily and anything can be made for a customer from scratch.
A majority of the diners appear to be in their 30s and 40s,
coming in with groups of friends, or families gathering for
a fun, lively meal.
Although they cater to an adult crowd, Matteo’s is extremely
kid-friendly and will readily prepare a meal for children
on request. Sunday is family day and one of the restaurant’s
busiest. On any day you can call ahead but they don’t
take reservations unless the party is 12 people or larger.
Three party rooms keep the place jumping but don’t interfere
with the restaurant’s sophisticated atmosphere. A small
room can hold up to 30 people; another holds 50; and the large
dining room can accommodate 100 people.
Customers told Vitale to get televisions near the bar and
in the dining room, but they are placed close to the ceiling
so they don’t interfere with the overall ambiance.
The service is almost impeccable, although on busy nights
it probably becomes a bit more hectic.
Olive oil, Italian bread, garlic toast and some of best bruschetta
outside Italy kick off the meal. Remind yourself now that
you have to save room for dessert but don’t let that
hold you back from enjoying all that awaits you.
A selection of hot or cold antipasti will whet your appetite.
The choices range from a fresh mozzarella and tomatoes ($7.95
half, $11.95 full) to fried calamari ($10.95 half, $17.95
Warm mozzarella, roast Holland red peppers and fresh asparagus
vinaigrette antipasti ($8.95 half, $18.95 full) are a wonderful
trio of flavors.
Stuffed artichokes are available when they are in season,
so don’t miss your chance. It’s a fun dish to
share with others and the best part isn’t until the
end. For the freshest of seafood experiences order the imported
Italian baby clams, Vongole Alla Possilipom ($18.95)
The Caesar salad ($7.95 half, $13.95 full) has become a trademark
here. Say the name Matteo’s and people rave about this
salad. Freshly made to order for the table in a lighter creamy
dressing with fresh anchovies, it is a definite hit.
Other salads on the menu provide different experiences as
you head towards the next course.
The tossed Italian garden salad is a refreshing and flavorful
chopped salad that won’t leave you feeling too full.
Roasted red peppers mixed into the olive oil dressing provides
the flavor, and a medley of cheese, salami, onions and olives
accompany the dish to be used to your liking.
The pasta is cooked fresh by order and each dish serves two
people. You can pick from a variety of pastas, including linguine,
capellini, rigatoni, fettucine, penne or whole wheat.
There is nothing better than a good sauce, so the only hard
part is picking just one. The options range from the classics
to the outrageous. From a sauce of olive oil and garlic ($15.95)
to a sauce of clams and shrimp ($22.95), Bolognese ($18.95),
Alfredo ($17.95), Vodka with prosciutto ($18.95) or Frutti
di mare ($32.95), the options allow even the pickiest eaters
to find something they’ll love.
Veal parmigiana ($17.95 half, $22.95 full) is wildly popular,
as is the shrimp parmigiana ($16.95 half, $24.95 full) because
anything Chef Ruben makes smothered in his sauce and melted
cheese is automatically delicious.
We tasted the Sea Bass Lucciano, which they tell us is one
of the most beloved items on the menu. For two to share, the
sea bass was cooked to perfection, and the sauce was flavorful
without overwhelming the delicacy of the fish.
The spinach that came with our entrée was out of this
world. Sauteed in olive oil and garlic, it can be ordered
alone ($10.95) and would be a wonderful accompaniment to any
item on the menu or even alone. Other sautéed vegetables
include string beans, broccoli, escarole, and broccoli di
rabe when in season ($10.95 each).
A healthier listing of options can keep you satisfied without
feeling guilty. Grilled chicken, shrimp and vegetables are
great substitutions and cooked with the same flavor and care
as the standard dishes.
The healthier selections also include a Veal Chop Paillard
($32.95), which is pounded on the bone and served with a tri-color
salad. You can request to have any veal pounded on the bone,
which works well cooked in a variety of ways.
Now if you still have room for dessert, just ask for what
you want and they’ll probably have it. All of the desserts
are homemade, from the Cannolis to the Biscotti. Try the homemade
Oreo Zeppolis on top of a napoleon whipped cream.
Whether it’s catering a party or preparing a dish just
the way you want it, this Italian restaurant strives to accommodate
Although the Roslyn Matteo’s is perhaps the best known
of the four Long island locations, the Huntington location
is effortlessly holding its own using the same charm and quality
of service that will have you coming back for more.
Bring the family.
300 W. Jericho Tpke.
Cuisine: Northern Italian
Atmosphere: Relaxed and friendly, family style
Price range: Moderate
Hours: Tue. thru Thu.: 12-10pm
Closed on Mondays.