By Tes Silverman
Dean Philippis of Piccolo Restaurant in Huntington is never too busy to greet diners at the door like an old friend.
Piccolo, which means small in Italian, is aptly named for its small space and has been mainstay in Huntington village since 1988, serving delicious Italian cuisine.
The lengthy bar area is a great place to pass the time sampling drinks from their extensive wine and cocktail menu while waiting for a table or to meet friends for a drink. The interior is dimly lit, which creates an intimate setting suited for a relaxing meal.
While the space may be small, the menu is far from it. Piccolo offers a wide range of choices prepared by Chef Andrew Crabtree.
To start, the organic roasted beets ($14) and avocado salad ($14) are light dishes to try before tackling heavier fare. The roasted beets are made with toasted goat cheese, clementine segments and topped with citrus and beet vinaigrette, making it a refreshing and colorful starter, perfect for fall. The avocado salad with bleu cheese, red grapes, apples and sherry vinaigrette may seem like a light salad, but it is packed with distinct flavors from the fruit.
If you’re leaning towards pasta, give the sweet potato gnocchi ($13/half, $25/full) a try. The gnocchi is made perfectly and has a creamy texture to it. Served with broccoli, shucked corn and pancetta, it’s lighter than when compared to typical pasta dishes.
For entrees, the scampi Piccolo ($30) and braised boneless beef short ribs ($31) are great choices. The scampi Piccolo is made with giant shrimps, artichoke hearts, garlic and white wine. The shrimps are perfectly seasoned and with the artichoke hearts, it creates a great balance of land and sea. The beef short ribs are tender with its au jus, topped with crispy onions and served with horseradish cream sauce on the side, which cuts down the heaviness of the ribs.
Crabtree’s culinary excellence extends to desserts as well, with the choices of molten chocolate lava cake ($9) and warm Granny Smith apple crisp ($9). The molten lava cake is creamy and quite decadent, perfect for any chocolate lover. The warm Granny Smith apple crisp is light and tart, a great choice for fall weather.
For those looking to have special occasions catered, Piccolo provides a vast catering menu that starts at $40 per person, with specific hours and days.
Crabtree and Philippis enjoy serving diners with Italian-inspired dishes that are tailored to their diners’ tastes.
“I love providing great comfort food that is lighter than your typical Italian food. I like knowing that my diners are satisfied with what they ate,” said Crabtree, who has been with Piccolo for six years.
Philippis added, “We love the idea that our customers can rely on us for great food and service. Our diners come in all ages and that’s part of the reason we’ve thrived for so long.”
215 Wall St.
Hours: Monday-Thursday 5-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 5-11 p.m.; Sunday 4-9 p.m.