sleepy hollow ;finalmente and villa napoli
Finalmente Trattoria, 31 Beekman Avenue, Sleepy Hollow NY
Ate a browsing lunch there Sunday ($45, including three glasses of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo) , returned for dinner Tuesday (tonight, $92 including a $28 bottle of Cantele Primitivo Salerno 2006).
Wife and I have enjoyed two meals so far, with not a drop of red sauce... but what there was was superb. I recommend our strategy of sharing each course -- you'll be satisfied without wasting a calorie.
They've just opened, so dessert selection is lean -- go for one of the custards -- but the chef has a special way with pork tenderloin and with berries. Definitely go for the Foresta green salad (blueberries and walnuts in mixed greens and balsamic-based dressing) and the pork tenderloin with mixed mushrooms. So far, I haven't had anything there that did not please me greatly.
The wait staff (run by an experienced and un-fussy Italian maitre d') is attentive without being annoying. I was pleased to see that it was 3/4 full at 9 PM on its sixth night open.
And it's two blocks from my house! Win-win.
[ The stupid Chow.com blog software insists on adding a link to Finalmente Trattoria in Westport, CT, and it won't let me make it go away. Please ignore it.]
was at finalmente recently..higjlisghts are fish, pastas, hot apps, need to improve cold apps salads bread service and owner tho he is ok, does not exhibit warmth and personality for this small local place, and wont put ion a reservation system..so waits can be long- in shoty this place has potential and i will be going back
Aware of the no reservations policy, we arrived at the restaurant last evening at 6:30 p.m. and were told "wait 20 minutes." 20 minutes came and went. Crowds continued to fill the place. We could order wine only. No non-alcoholic drinks except water. 7:00 came and went: more crowds, more noise, no ventilation in the room. Not even a potato chip to eat. 7:30 came and went, and finally at 8 p.m. we left because the staff were now talking about a further one hour wait. We were able to persuade the bar staff to bring us the Little Neck clams, which arrived lukewarm, covered with a thick, gummy breadcrumb crust, tasting very much as if they'd been microwaved. Very cold, unhelpful wait staff. By the time we left, there were people waiting outside the front door, and still, no tables had been vacated. An hour and a half of inattentive waiters, mediocre hors d'oeuvres and overwhelming heat and noise are an impossible combination. The place was absolute chaos. The restaurant needs to shape up, fast! It also needs to decide whether it is a serious restaurant with really good food, or a wine bar. The premises are too small to be both.
re: Nancy C
This made me laugh from the Sleepy Hollow PD blotter:
9:39 p.m. An aggravated female diner walked into police headquarters after a meal at Finalmente restaurant. The woman said she went to use the bathroom and found there was no lock on the door. While the woman was in the restroom, another patron accidentally walked in on her. The woman wanted to know if there were any regulations regarding locks on restroom doors because she felt the situation was unacceptable.
Went there on Saturday evening. We were aware of the no reservation policy and got there at 6. Well, 4 of us did, the other two were meeting us. At 6, there were 6 other people in the place, and many, many empty tables. They initially refused to let us sit at our table until our whole party arrived (even though one of our group was walking with a cane). No consideration at all until we complained and they "compromised" by putting us at a 4 top, and promising to add a 2 top if the rest of the party arrived. I understand the rule if they were crowded, but not when they were empty.
That being said, the food was excellent, and they were able to serve us quickly so that we could make our post-dinner appointment.
So, the food is a plus, but the (no) reservation policy is a big negative.
Some additional thoughts to the above.
The place started out great. But then, schizophrenia set in -- on all fronts. For example:
-- The Owner/Manger "Dan," has a hard time deciding whether he is the gracious host (and he can be), or just the "regular guy" hanging out in front of the restaurant, leaning into the livery window, "yo-ing" the local cab drivers, and chain smoking cigarettes at the entrance. One or the other, but judging by the odor of nicotine upon his person when he approaches your table, hanging out on the sidewalk, dragging on a butt, is winning.
-- The Owner/Manager Dan, has a hard time deciding whether he should be attentive at the door as the guests arrive for the evening, or be bellying up to the bar having his dinner (admittedly during his dinner time, but then, unfortunately also everyone else's).
-- The Owner/Manager Dan, has a hard time deciding whether he is running a restaurant for dining, or an after hours singles haven for the local twenties (very young twenties, that cut their underage teeth at Michael's down the block before the place was forcibly closed), that comes alive at the stroke of eleven several times each week. Including dancing on the bar -- although, that crowd is fickle and may have moved on since this summer.
-- The chef, Donato, has a hard time deciding whether he should be cooking in the kitchen (which, when he does, the food is excellent), or schmoozing with the winsome younger (and older) ladies at the tables, telling corny, sometimes slightly ribald jokes. Lately, the Donato in the dining room is winning, which means the inexperienced staff in the kitchen is losing. So is the food..
-- The bartender Nina, who has a hard time deciding whether she should be customer oriented, or skeptical, if not downright "eeewwww" disgusted, by a customer's cocktail selection. And a classic Italian aperitif cocktail at that. Heavens to Mergatroid! Of all places, Campari in a cocktail in an Italian restaurant. The uprolled eyes and "eewwwws" not only tend to not bring the best in tips, they tend not to keep customers either.
I could go on, but there you have it -- the tale of so many restaurants. Off to a great start, but then the owner/management gets complacent, as does the chef, the bar, and the food.
What the cast doesn't understand is that, like a good show on Broadway, the performance has to be as good on the first night, as the night you pay to see their show.
Add a bit of what is written above (which, regretabbly, I've personally seen), and it's no wonder that the tables are empty, and there is a certain finality to Finalmente.
31 Beekman Ave, Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591
At the risk of incurring the wrath of EHS I have to disagree with both EHS & Pinnacle's comments. The comments seem personal in nature and it makes me wonder if either of them has an axe to grind.
The hallmarks of a good restaurant should be Quality, Consistency and Variety. Finalmente has genrally accomplished all of that during its first 12 months. I have been there at least 15 times and have always had an excellent meal. One year later and this gem of fine restaurant still ranks as one of my favorites. Sure you may have to wait for a table since reservations are not taken BUT it is well worth it. The food which was excellent a year ago still is and everybody I know who has been agrees with me. As with any new restaurant there were some server issues when they first opened but they are long gone. The menu changes what looks to be about 25% regularly and is always interesting. The prices charged for everything are reasonable and all well worth it. I have always felt like I received great value for my money. The wine list continues to offer some superb values at reasonable restaurant prices and there is a very nice assortment of Italian beers too.
For starters a new salad with thinly sliced smoked duck breast is amazing. The cold antipasti has top quality meats, cheeses and vegetables and is plentiful. Don't miss it.
Pastas: All are made on the premises and are really good. I still love the Tortellini with butter and sage. It takes me back to Firenze. Try the Timbal if you want a real treat.
The regular menu has lots of good choices like Monkfish or Lamb Chops. The specials are great too. Don't miss the Veal Contadina if offered which is one of my favorites or the Zuppa di Pesce type dish with lobster. Simply amazing. I rarely order fish out but I usually order fish here. Always super fresh and cooked perfectly.
All of the desserts are still well worth the calories. Don't miss the Panna Cotta, or the Italian Cheesecake.
One small note of caution; it can get a little noisy during primetime on a Saturday night but all in all Finalmente offers a great dining experience in a beautiful setting. If you are looking for better quality food at reasonable prices try Finalmente. I doubt you will be disappointed.