By Tes Silverman
Once inside Cinque Terre in Huntington Station, the first thing diners will notice is how street noise disappears and they are left to admire the immediate surroundings. From the gorgeous chandeliers, the fireplaces and the paintings of “The Five Lands” on the walls, diners at 872 E Jericho Turnpike will feel surrounded by warmth and elegance.
Cinque Terre means Five Lands, which are the areas of Corniglia, Manarola, Monterosso, Riomaggiore and Vernazza in the Italian Riviera located off the coast of Liguria. For owners Pam and Executive Chef Anthony Page, the Five Lands are represented in Cinque Terre’s five unique rooms that will have diners curious about the history behind them. In addition, Cinque Terre’s menu is heavily inspired by the fresh seafood and produce one would find when visiting that region of Italy.
The journey to the five lands starts with Chef Anthony’s unique appetizers, like Polpetto in Umido ($16), which is braised tenderized baby octopus. The braised octopus is tender and lightly breaded, served with baby arugula, potato and red onion salad, which is great for the diner with an adventurous palate.
For those who want to start with a healthy dish before continuing with an entree, the salad to choose is the Insalata Cinque Terre ($11). This salad is made with baby arugula, endive, radicchio, caramelized apples and sun-dried cranberries, served with fig dressing and shaved Parmiggiano-Reggiano cheese. The crunchiness of the endive and radicchio, combined with the sweetness of the apples and cranberries and the fruity/nutty taste of the Parmiggiano-Reggiano, results in a hearty, yet filling salad.
While Cinque Terre offers traditional pasta dishes like lobster ravioli, risotto and farfalle, pasta lovers may want to try the Ravioli di Rabe ($28). The ravioli is made with broccoli rabe and sausage, sautéed with garlic chips, extra virgin olive oil and baby arugula. The ravioli is perfectly cooked al dente and, while broccoli rabe usually has a bitter taste, combining it with the sausage takes away the bitterness and creates a unique pasta dish.
Cinque Terre’s choice of entrees are numerous, but the ones to choose are crispy duck ($32) and pork chop Ripieno ($30). The Long Island duck is double roasted and made with orange Grand Marnier sauce, and served with wild rice. The duck is crispy, but not heavy, and the Grand Marnier’s orange flavor brings out the richness of the duck and the nuttiness of the wild rice.
The pork chop Ripieno is lightly breaded Berkshire pork chop, stuffed with prosciutto, spinach and mozzarella cheese in a marsala mushroom sauce and served with mashed potatoes. The pork chop is perfectly cooked and moist as a result of the prosciutto and mozzarella cheese, resulting in a hearty dish that’s great for any meat lover.
To end the meal in a delicious way, diners shouldn’t pass up the tiramisu ($9). It’s made with delicate sponge cake, layers of mascarpone cream and espresso, with a dusting of cocoa powder. While it’s decadent, it is light and creamy, perfect for the diner who loves a dessert that’s not overly sweet.
Tradition and the feeling of home can be seen in every aspect of how Cinque Terre’s diners are treated. Chef Anthony and Pam take pride in the fact that their children, Anthony and Taylor, work in a place they consider their second home. The Pages’ daughter, Taylor, works there as a bartender and their son, Anthony, works there as a waiter, web designer and manager.
“We want our customers to feel at home. As a family-run business, we want our guests to feel like they are part of that family. We hold ourselves to high culinary and service standards, and aim to provide our diners with nothing less than we would for our family,” Chef Anthony said.
The same sentiment applies to how they want their staff to treat their customers.
Chef Anthony added, “We often tell our staff during service, ‘Make sure everyone’s happy in there.’ From the moment our guests arrive until the time they try to leave, we ask them, ‘Where are you going? You just got here!’ Because we want them to feel welcome and happy.”