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VALENTINO'S ON THE GREEN

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suek Apr 13, 2010 12:11 PM

Has this or will this restaurant be opening in Bayside?

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    hopkicker3 RE: suek Apr 15, 2010 09:55 AM

    They have been delayed for months...the local papers have been reporting an spring opening...maybe by Memeorial Day...they have spent over 3 million on renovations...a still tanking economy...unemployment still double digits...let's see if people will respond to a luxury restaurant this summer!!!!

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      peter00 RE: suek May 18, 2010 09:31 PM

      Yea I read that this restaurant will be opening sometime in July in the local papers...seems like they are building a destination place right here in queens and keeping the price points and portions similar to the prior ownership....hopefully it will be great...we really need a nice new place in queens

      1 Reply
      1. re: peter00
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        richg35 RE: peter00 May 19, 2010 07:29 AM

        We had our wedding reception at Caffe on the Green. It was great. I'll miss the place. It's nice that something else will be opening there but it won't be the same.

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        nooyawka RE: suek May 26, 2010 12:16 PM

        I just drove by yesterday, and I saw a bunch of scaffolding up...

        11 Replies
        1. re: nooyawka
          ZenFoodist RE: nooyawka Sep 13, 2010 07:05 AM

          It opened on Tuesday. Has anyone gone? Ive been told by the banquet manager that a lot of Communion parties were already booked for May....

          1. re: ZenFoodist
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            richg35 RE: ZenFoodist Sep 13, 2010 07:32 AM

            We went on Saturday with friends of ours (table of 4, total). We had our wedding reception at Caffe on the Green, so obviously the location has some special meaning to us.

            We got there early, so my wife and I each had a drink at the bar. The bartender was really nice and friendly. They've removed the piano from that side of the restaurant. Bartender said a lot of people have been asking about it, so perhaps it will make a comeback?

            Outside they've removed a lot of the garden area and replaced it with a deck. The deck was nice enough, but personally I enjoyed the more garden-like feel of the old place.

            First week open so service wasn't that great, but I expected that. Bringing food out and giving to the wrong table position, not offering cracked pepper or fresh grated cheese, nobody one inquired if we wanted refills on our drinks, etc.

            The food was fine but not outstanding, especially that the prices they are charging. I feel the food was better at Caffe. Valentino's menu offers a greater selection, however. An appetizer special (which our waitress did not tell us about - we found out somewhat by chance by an entirely different server that came over to tell us about it) was a fresh mozzarella, tomato and onion plate. It came with intact slices of red onion - I don't know whose idea that was - way too much onion! It should have been omitted completely.

            We used to try to go to Caffe every year for our anniversary, but I am not in a big hurry to go back to Valentino's. I will definitely give them some time to work out the kinks and give it another shot, and that would be my recommendation to everyone for now.

            Also, very strangely the place seems to have more security cameras than a bank or casino. In the dining room, upstairs in the reception all, everywhere.

            1. re: richg35
              ZenFoodist RE: richg35 Sep 13, 2010 07:54 AM

              Thanks for your response. I was considering it for its proximity for a party in the Spring, but I will definitley check it out first before booking. We'll have a meal there at the end of October which should give them enough time to work out service issues at the very least.

              Gross about the onion. Nothing worse than a big slab of raw onion on a plate. Even a Vidalia. But that's just my opinion. Save it for the burger places...

              I find all the cameras a bit unsettling. What element is dining there?

              Was the decor beautiful? They have seemed to have sunk a nice chunk of change into the renovations.

              With Parkiside, Trattoria L'Incontro, Piccola Venezia and Sapori D'Ischia to choose from, I feel like I have other options but I will give it a chance.

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              Piccola Venezia
              42-01 28th Ave, Queens, NY 11103

              Trattoria L'Incontro
              21-76 31st St, Queens, NY 11105

              1. re: ZenFoodist
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                richg35 RE: ZenFoodist Sep 13, 2010 09:03 AM

                If I had to describe the element, I would say a very similar crowd that was eating there when it was still Caffe. I'm sure a lot of people have come back to see what's become of it.

                The decor was nice, but there were some cheesy elements. For instance, they have these big glass wall sconses with candle-type fixtures inside. Rather than using a regular lightbulb, they put those orange flickering-style ones in them to simulate real candles. In the bathrooms, they used very modern stone on the floor and walls and that just felt out of place with the rest of the space.

                They also sort of created a new room inside of the main room - it's still open so the best way i can describe it is that it's sort of a small alcove within the main room. I guess you have to see it for yourself really.

                No more tablecloths.

                Caffe really seemed to pack people in, so I can say that the tables now seem fewer and farther apart, so you are afforded some privacy in terms of your next table not being able to hear your every word. The actually furniture was very nice - some tables have big leather chairs which looked very comfortable.

                The upstairs room seemed brighter and whiter. I think they now claim they can pack 220 people up there - we had slightly north of 100 for our wedding and it was pretty full, so I can't really see having an event with double that number up there. They also replaced the wooden dancefloor with some kind of polished stone tile dancefloor.

                In terms of landscaping, the parking lot for the golf course seems way more visible than it ever was. They really should erect a nicer fence to cover the chain link fence or put some kind of greenery to cover it. I think most of all I was displeased with the changes outside the most. The new deck is nice (it's not wood - it's a composite "Trex" style) - but I preferred the more expansive green area that Caffe had. There isn't much room for outdoor photography anymore which was appealing to us when choosing it as a wedding venue.

                Oh, also, I forgot RE: the food...my mashed potatoes were cold.

              2. re: richg35
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                GraveGirl RE: richg35 Sep 26, 2010 05:47 PM

                richg35 - we had the same experience tonight - and yes - what was w/those cameras?? I thought maybe I was crazy.

                The service was so horrible that we walked out finally. Ten minutes before someone came w/menus, and when he did - he dropped them and ran. The staff seemed very confused and undone - one should never be that aware of restaurant staff. The menu was unimpressive, btw - a step up from our neighborhood pizzeria only much more expensive, and - no music either.

                We also preferred the garden to that awful deck. We were married there 11 years ago today and were so upset when Caffe left, but we were hopeful this place would be good. I don't think we'll give it another chance unless we read good reviews in a few months. The service was profoundly poor, and when my husband quietly told the waiter that he needed to be a bit more present (the waiter finally took a drink order at OUR prompting and when dropping the drinks - didn't ask if we were ready to order yet - he was a hit and run kind of server apparently!) - and the waiter was not only not contrite but also clearly angry that my husband expressed his concern at all.

                We figured if they couldn't run a dining room, the chances of the kitchen being run well were just as bad, so we left. And upon leaving, we told the hostess how disappointed we were in the service, and again were met w/indifference.

                What we witnessed tonight was a group of people that seemed to be in way over their heads. We don't expect this place to last. This was one of the worst experiences we've ever had in a NY restaurant - and we eat out regularly.

                1. re: GraveGirl
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                  hopkicker3 RE: GraveGirl Sep 26, 2010 10:41 PM

                  Wow...GraveGirl...I kind of felt that this place would stumble out of the gate. If you could please answer these questions: 1) What time did you arrive? 2) Was the restaurant busy at that time? 3) Were they understaffed? And did the staff appear to be a bunch of 20-somethings (inexperienced). VALENTINO"S has a tough act to follow, Joe Franco ran a "tight" ship at COTG, the service was always great and Joe was extremely well liked and popular. You cannot discount the appeal of that man...he was there for almost 20 years.

                  I have not been there yet, but I agree with you abou the menu I read "online". It reads like almost any other Italian restaurant menu in the Whitestone/Bayside area. I was expecting something a little more "Batali-esque" from this group.

                  Look forward to more chatter...

                  1. re: hopkicker3
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                    richg35 RE: hopkicker3 Sep 28, 2010 11:02 AM

                    I'll answer your questions from our experience
                    1) Our reservation was for 7 o'clock
                    2) The place was full
                    3) There seemed to be a lot of staff but yes they were all young. For some reason they had 3 or 4 hostesses at the front door. Why you need 4 girls to mostly mill around and do nothing, I don't know.

                    At one point a maitre d' admonished one of the food runners right at our table for not knowing which position was which at our table which I thought was sorta unprofessional and ruined a bit of the experience.

                    But it was a lot of little shit like that that just adds up - not asking if we need more drinks, not placing the right plates at the right table positions, etc.

                  2. re: GraveGirl
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                    richg35 RE: GraveGirl Sep 28, 2010 10:58 AM

                    It's disturbing to read that almost 2 weeks later and it seems like your experience was worse than ours.

                    I definitely agree on the menu - sorta generic but very expensive.

                    The service was definitely scattered when we went - 3 or 4 different people came over at different points to do different things, but the left hand never knew what the right hand was doing.

                    The Caffe on the Green website has said for a while that they've found a new location about 1 mile from the old location. Anyone know what's going on with them opening up a new place?

                    1. re: richg35
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                      hopkicker3 RE: richg35 Sep 28, 2010 05:18 PM

                      Hello Rich, I have heard from two reliable sources within the restaurant industry that Joe Franco has purchased property in the Whitestone/Beechurst area for the "new" CAFFE ON THE GREEN, the location is rumored to be on 154th Street somewhere near TONY'S BEECHURST.

                      Thank you for answering my questions.

                      1. re: hopkicker3
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                        BigV RE: hopkicker3 Sep 30, 2010 09:24 PM

                        That's probably the old White House restaurant. That place needed an upgrade so hopefully Joe can do good things.

                        Btw...I LOVE Tony's Beechhurst Deli.

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                        Tony's Beechhurst Deli
                        11-18 154th St, Queens, NY 11357

                        White House
                        10-24 154th St, Queens, NY 11357

                        1. re: BigV
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                          victoria060 RE: BigV Oct 20, 2010 01:44 PM

                          Ate at Valentino's last night for a birthday dinner (5 of us). The new decor was okay but I liked the old Caffe on the Green better, especially the tableclothes. Maybe some people like the wood tables but if I'm dinning out for a special occasion and prices to match I like the elegance of tableclothes.. We ordered 5 drinks and literally waited 15 minutes for them to arrive . I forgot to mention that there were only 4 tables taken in a huge room and a few people at the bar. Our waiter who was very nice returned with 3 drinks and after another 5 minutes the other 2 drinks arrived (one was the birthday person) . So we waited so we could have a toast. His drink was a Rob Roy which he said tasted salty ,2 others in our party tasted it also and confirmed that it indeed was. They made him a new one which was much better. The manager came over and said that he too tasted the drink and it was salty and that it was on the house ,which was a plus. We order wine (the wine selection was good mostly Italian wines and the prices were okay). The bread selection was good and was served with olive oil and a hummus dip. We all had appetizers 2 seafood salads, a fried calamai (overly breadeed and too crispy) with two sauces a stuffed artichoke and a spicy chicken soup all very well prepared. The only fault was that they had to ask who ordered what. They did the same thing with the drinks not knowing where to place them. The entrees were very good, a steak, grouper special shrimp scampi, osso bucco, and boneless short ribs (again they had to ask who ordered what). We ordered 3 desserts an apple crostata which was very flakey an Italian cheesecake and cannolis( 3 miniature which were extremely soggy)and informed our waiter .He did not charge for it and gave us an order of cookies on the house, we also had 4 cappucinos The bill totaled $395.00 which was not bad for what we had. All in all the food was good the service was friendly and accomodating but needs to be more polished .I'm glad we went but I do miss Cafe on the Greeen. I wish them luck.

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