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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Bistro-style Italian cuisine with artistic twists

Tony Colombos Italian Bistro
208 Sunrise Highway, Rockville Centre
(516) 678-1996, www.TonyColombos.com

Open since April, this restaurant is the teamwork of its namesake, Tony Colombo, and Art Gustafson, chef-owner of Chadwick’s American Chop House & Bar in the same town. Friends for ages, they met years ago at the American Culinary Federation, where they were charter members. From its stunning décor to creative cuisine, Tony Colombos Italian Bistro is, without a doubt, a labor of love.

Passion comes from Executive Chef Colombo himself, who admits his greatest reward is watching others enjoy his culinary creations. He’s been cooking his entire life, learning from his mother, working his way up in restaurants, attending the renowned Culinary Institute of America, and interning at the 21 Club, Delmonico’s, and Sign of the Dove. Professional credits include Cirella’s in Melville and Mannino’s in Oakdale.

Warm crispy breads with a trio of spreads — herb-infused olive oil, cold marinara sauce, and whipped rosemary ricotta cheese — were a welcoming touch. We enjoyed white Sangria, lavished with sliced summer fruits. As the servers get to taste every dish, they come armed with genuine enthusiasm. We followed their raves and were not disappointed. Signature dishes and the nightly specials should not be overlooked.

Soups, salads and appetizers are priced from $7 to $14. Meatballs were a melt-in-your-mouth blend of veal, pork and beef, topped with “Sunday sauce,” whipped basil ricotta, Foccaccia crostini, and crisp prosciutto chips. Mussels Tuscany were dressed in butter, Gorgonzola and white wine scampi sauce, speckled with pancetta. You’ll want that bread for dipping. Chopped Colombo house salad was virtually antipasto in a bowl — romaine, garbanzo beans, roasted red peppers, sun-dried and fresh tomatoes, prosciutto, provolone, fresh mozzarella, and red wine vinaigrette. Caesar wedge salad was particularly creamy, topped with homemade croutons and shaved parmigiana.

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