By Jano Tantongco
At Milito’s restaurant, it’s all about fresh ingredients, traditional Italian fare and a passion that can only come from a family-oriented mindset.
Coming from families deeply entrenched in the restaurant industry, owner and head chef Emilio Valle and general manager Frank Morello run Milito’s with a bond of more than 30 years of collective experience. The families often worked hand in hand to serve up fine dining for their faithful customers, they said.
Morello recalled being born and raised in the business, taking the train as a child from Queens to Manhattan to visit his father Richard at the family’s restaurant, Richie’s II.
“The richness of the restaurant business is what we do, and it all revolves around the family. Our happiness is our guests’ happiness,” Morello said. “We try our best. We do everything old school.”
The passion is clear in Valle’s tireless, seven-days-a-week efforts.
“I never get tired. I come back the next day with ideas. I love what I do,” Valle said.
He added that the Huntington Station restaurant first opened up in September 2015 under the name La Spada, where Valle served as a partner and head chef. In taking the reins of ownership, Valle changed the name to Emilio’s at first, but found some confusion with Emilio’s in Commack.
Going back to his roots, he changed the name to Milito’s, a nickname given to him by his father and the name that most knew him as.
From the biscotti, to the pasta, to the sauces, everything at Milito’s is homemade with a flavor full of care and artistry.
As prospective diner’s walk into the restaurant, they’re treated to hints of old-world Italy. Fine wines line the walls and are perched next to masks fit for a masquerade ball. The décor creates a picturesque setting topped off by a hanging Mona Lisa, who may or may not be a bit envious of diners’ delights.
To start, the antipasti combination of Lamb Arrosticini ($10.95) and Grilled Calamari ($13.95) is a strong starter to any meal as a unique union of land and sea. The lamb skewers are flavored with garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary, while the calamari is coated with garlic-seasoned breadcrumbs and paired with assorted squash. The lamb is tender and well-portioned, and hits the diner with a zesty finish courtesy of the lemon spritz. The calamari is grilled to perfection, and enhanced with a tasty, sultry flavor from the garlic.
Up next, the Cavatelli Foresteria ($16.95) is a hallmark of fine, homemade pasta that truly exemplifies Italian comfort food. The homemade cavatelli is paired with deliciously earthy mushrooms, chunks of prosciutto and mascarpone cheese in a light brown sauce. Topped with freshly ground black pepper, the occasional peppercorn adds an exuberance to a deeply satisfying dish.
The Prosciutto Wrapped Monkfish ($30.95) featured medallions of Atlantic monkfish wrapped with prosciutto sauteed in a lemon, white wine herb sauce with spinach. The hearty texture of the monkfish is reminiscent of lobster, and takes in the medley of herbal flavors of the dish. It’s all wrapped in a slice of prosciutto that will make any diner’s mouth water.
As for the Veal Carciofi ($19.99), the dish brings together veal scallopini sauteed topped with artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes in a lemon white wine sauce with almonds. The veal is almost buttery, and shines through with a bold citrus tones that just might send your tastebuds on a trip into a savory paradise.
To top it all off, the homemade Napoleon cake serves as a delicious take on the French dessert. It features an especially flakey and puffy crust that’s an ideal backdrop for the freshly whipped cream. Topped with a raspberry drizzle, paired with strawberries and raspberries, the pastry’s richness is accented with bursts of fruity freshness.