After a busy Saturday, ABF & I were in Long Island and getting pretty hungry. He took me to a nearby Italian restaurant where he assured me they served fantastic vodka sauce. I'm a sucker for a good alla vodka sauce, but I was still reserving judgment/managing expectations until I tasted for myself. The restaurant, Angelina's, had parking nearby (Parking! What a luxury!) and is also right near a major road and the Long Island Rail Road stop. It was going full-tilt when we walked in around 8pm on Saturday. The noise was surprising at first--dozens of tables filled with families, including kids of all ages, but everyone seemed to be having a great time. This place is definitely buzzing with a fun, friendly energy.
I started with a glass of the house Cabernet, which was delicious AND affordable (5 dollars for a very generous pour!) Our server was super friendly (without being intrusive) and gave us plenty of time to make up our mind--it's a pretty big menu. We also had a basket of Italian bread and buttery, delicious focaccia to get us started.
Each entrée comes with a salad or pasta. I opted for the Caesar, which was easily big enough to share (and yes, I did). It was creamy, garlicky, with just enough dressing (don't you hate it when your lettuce is drowning?), and just plain scrumptious. I ate almost every bite of this. Crunchy, fresh, two forks up.
My entrée was the Chicken Semi-Freddo, which had been marinated in balsamic vinegar, grilled, and then topped with cubed tomatoes, red onion & basil. It sounded super bruschetta-y to me, but it didn't quite taste like it. The tomatoes were just okay (it IS still winter, after all), but the chicken was delicious. You could just barely taste the balsamic in the background, but the chicken itself was tender and delectable. Also, THREE pieces of chicken breast? They saw I'm just one person, right? This came home with us (along with the remaining meatball) and went to good use later for ABF's dinner later in the week.
ABF had tried the meatballs before, so he knew those were good. We got 4 of those on the side. The red sauce was delicious, and they were substantial and satisfying without being clunky and too heavy. They had a smoky, garlicky taste to them, and they were deeelicious. I ate one right away, and finished off another half of one later.
ABF ordered the Chicken Verde--lightly breaded chicken cutlets smothered in broccoli and mozzerella cheese. It came with a white wine/lemon sauce that was good, although I would have liked a bit more lemon myself. I had a bite and it was good, but for once in my dining experiences with ABF, I did not have order envy. Until......
Spaghetti with vodka sauce. Not just any vodka sauce. AMAZING vodka sauce. I can't quite figure out how theirs is different from just about every other I've tried. Is there a hint of Parmesan in there? Is it light on the oil? They are doing something different, and that something is noteworthy. This sauce is light, smooth, not at all greasy, with an incredible depth of flavor. It's cravetastic, and you can bet your bottom dollar I'm getting this and only this next time. This from the girl who hardly ever orders pasta when she eats out!
Overall, it was a delicious trip. You should check it out next time you're in the neighborhood. I'll be there, hunkered down in the corner, happily eating my vodka sauce (perhaps wiping away a single tear of happiness) and side of meatballs. Mmmmmm...