Normally, ABF & I stay in for a quiet, cozy night on New Year's Eve, but this year we opted to go out for the big night--and it was a lot of fun! (and check it out--above you will see ABF's very first photo appearance ever on Stuff I Ate!!)
We hit up Dino's in Rockville Centre, which is actually an easy walk from ABF's apartment. It's a pretty popular Italian restaurant that is usually super-busy, so ABF was on it when he made reservations almost a month ahead of time!
There were 2 seatings: 7pm and 930pm--we opted for the 7, assuring we'd be on ABF's couch in plenty of time to watch a movie (or, as it turned out, the British comedy series "The IT Crowd") and ring in the New Year's at home. Win-win! They also had a singer serenading us during the meal, which was actually a lot of fun. I even got my very own serenade at one point, thank you very much :)
I opted for a glass of Pinot Noir, and was pleased with the light, fruity body of the house wine.
ABF had a drink too (since we were walking home and ABF didn't have to drive!), ordering a gin & tonic. Cheers!
I managed to limit myself to *one* garlic knot. Are garlic knots popular outside NYC? It's basically a roll twisted into a knot shape and reeking, in the most wonderful way, of garlic. Yum.
The evening's menu was prix fixe, with 4 courses and a decent selection--way more food than we'd normally order, but hey, it's a holiday!
I got an early start on one of my New Year's Resolutions: eat more seafood! I ordered the seafood salad for my starter. I was thinking of the insanely delicious dish we'd had with Jen & Tom at Patricia's. This was close-- a little brinier with a dash of green olives, crunchy red, yellow and green bell peppers. I ate a good amount but still left a lot on my plate--tonight was all about pacing!
ABF started with the Caprese Salad: lots of fresh basil, mozzarella cheese, and tomatoes. Delicious.
We both got the Caesar salad as well--this was lightly dressed and quite tasty. No heavy cream dressing--just a lemony drizzle all over it. Crunchy and refreshing.
My main dish was the Lobster Tail fra Diavolo--which came with mussels, clams, and shrimp. This was good, but the sauce was not even a little bit spicy. That was disappointing, but I do love a good red sauce. We saw the dessert cart stroll by at this point, so I made sure to leave some room for that!
ABF's entree was the striped bass, which was even better than my dish. Tender, flaky fish and also mussels, clams and more (he shared his mussels as he's not a super-huge fan).
ABF went for the Napoleon, and while I was initially disappointed to see a fluffy filling instead of custard (which is my favorite)--this was stellar. Crunchy, firm pastry, delightfully light filling. Wow. Delish.
I couldn't resist the rainbow 'cookie,' which is really more like a cake. My friend Beth G makes THE BEST RAINBOW COOKIES IN THE WORLD, so I'm a tough judge. If you don't have a Beth G handy, the rainbow cookie at Dino's is a damn decent option. Light, almond and cherry flavors, and a dark chocolate topping. It's a small serving, but it is riiiiiiiich.
We each had a strong, cinnamon-topped cappucino as well, and this is the point where we were both quite glad we had a short walk home (you have to get up and move after a meal like this)!!
The best part of the night was easily the service and attitude of the owners/servers. Everyone was in a good mood, everyone who passed by was pleasant and welcomed us, checked on us, smiled at us! The owner and his wife were especially friendly, greeting us just as effusively as the regular customers who sat at the table next to us. I think a night like New Year's Eve is maybe not the best night to judge the menu, as it is a limited section, but it is a great chance to get a feeling for the mood there, and ABF & I are definitely going back to Dino's!
328 Sunrise Highway
Rockville Centre, New York 11570