By Connor Beach
Hungry diners looking to share a meal with family and friends need look no further than Eatalia in Huntington village.
The restaurant, which opened three years ago on New Street in Huntington, specializes in family style Italian dishes, and it’s the family style menu that really makes Eatalia unique, according to owner Al Salese.
Salese, who also owns the original Junior’s Pizza in Halesite, said he opened the restaurant because he felt Huntington was missing a good family style dining option. Designed to feed two or three people, the family style dishes provide a great bang for your buck.
“The family style was really the inspiration behind the restaurant,” Salese said. “There’s such value in the family style price.”
For those diners looking to turn a family style meal into a large family party, Salese said Eatalia’s menu and ample space make the restaurant a good place to host just about any kind of party or get together.
The restaurant has a back room that can accommodate private events of up to 35, while the dining room can be reserved for larger events.
Salese said people have grown into the concept of family style dining, with a lot of large tables ordering multiple dishes to share.
“Everybody leaves here happy, and the sharing makes it a memorable experience,” Salese said.
In addition to the family style options, Eatalia also features a $10.99 lunch menu six days a week.
One of the entrée choices from the lunch menu is the Eggplant Rollatini featuring eggplant, sundried tomato, spinach, mascarpone and pink champagne sauce. The eggplant has a decadent, silky texture that gives way to the milky flavor of the mascarpone. The eggplant also absorbs the flavor of the champagne sauce, which helps to balance the strong flavors of the dish.
From the pizza oven, the Arugula Pizzetta ($15) features fresh mozzarella, prosciutto and a balsamic reduction. The thin crust is warm and airy, while still providing a nice crunchy texture to the dish. The contrasting flavors of the arugula and prosciutto work together nicely, and the balsamic ties the components of the pizza together.
Under entrees, the Chicken Florentine ($22/single portion; $29/family style) features chicken topped with spinach, prosciutto and mozzarella served with a sherry sauce. The chicken is well cooked and tender, and the entire dish benefits from the brightness of the brown sherry sauce. The prosciutto adds a salty note to the chicken that is covered with the melted cheese.
Finally, what better dish is there to share at an Italian restaurant than pasta, and Eatalia serves up some great tasting options. One of the restaurant’s best sellers is the Papadella Salese ($20/$26) featuring wild mushrooms, prosciutto, sun-dried tomato, peas and truffle cream sauce.
This dish is full of authentic Italian flavors. The thick pasta is a good choice to capture the creamy sauce that, along with the mushrooms, adds a deep earthy flavor that compliments the sweetness of the sun-dried tomato. This is a dish that the whole family will want to try.
The intimate atmosphere and experience of sharing a meal at Eatalia gives the restaurant a welcoming feeling.
Salese said, “We want it to be just a comfortable neighborhood place.”