Angelo’s Tavolo – Scotia, NY
My buddy, Rory, thought my opening statements regarding Mazzone Management’s Aperitivo Bistro were overwhelmingly positive, so he thought it would be natural that Angelo’s Tavolo in Scotia, NY (1 Glen Avenue – i.e. at Glen Sander’s Mansion) was a spot that I would enjoy. Even though there were some positive things to be said about the meal at Aperitivo, and even though the experience at 677 Prime (Part 1, Part 2) was positive overall, I always wait to try a place before making my judgement.
Rory and I met for dinner on a Thursday evening. I made a reservation on OpenTable.com, but the reservation wasn’t even remotely necessary; there were only three other tables occupied at 6:45pm. Because I was early for our reservation, I went to the bar downstairs to enjoy a drink. There were happy hour specials from 5 to 7pm, so I talked to the bartender about what the options were. He named three fruity “martinis” and similar margaritas and I think a draft beer, so I asked what the drink of the house was. He didn’t really know, so he sold me on a raspberry “martini.”
Some fresh fruit was muddled in the glass, and fresh juice and simple syrup were shaken with some raspberry vodka with ice. It was fine and a bargain for $6, but I expected a little more for a place that displays Louis XIII de Remy Martin on the bar.
When I was done, I took our table and looked over the menu while I waited for Rory.
Immediately, upon opening the menu, I saw something I never expected that night.
I have been craving some super fresh mozzarella for a while, so much so that I even have been looking for local sources of mozzarella curd. When Rory arrived, I mentioned to him how excited I was about this, but also mentioned that I wanted to know what the three preparations entailed. To my dismay, in each of the preparations, fresh mozzarella would be served over what was listed. Damn! I thought it was going to be rolled into the cheese and sliced.
They brought us focaccia and grisini that were served with parmigianno regianno chunks, two different butters and a roasted garlic, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar contraption.
One butter was a basil compound butter; the other contained roasted garlic. Everything was very nice. It was a pretty fancy way to start the meal.
I had settled on the mozzarella with carne. It came on a platter of proscuitto, capicolo, salami, and sopresatta. It also came with a hot pepper “shooter” stuffed with a cube of fontinella cheese wrapped with proscuitto (side note: these are so fun to make, and even funner to eat!). And, of course, our waitress pulled the cheese at the table. They have a cart they roll out to facilitate this.
She started with 8 oz of fresh mozzarella curd, and stretched the cheese in very hot water (but not boiling).
She worked the cheese with her gloved hands for a quick moment.
Then she placed it on the board, sliced it, and served it over the meats with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.
She noticed I was asking a lot of questions, so, realizing she was dealing with someone who is familiar with the process, she asked how she did. After tasting it, I mentioned she did great, but they forgot to teach her a step. It’s vital to shock the cheese in ice cold water after stretching. It helps the cheese hold its form and also helps to keep it moist; the cheese solids will become more firm and hold more moisture at a lower temperature.
As I was eating, because it was sliced while it was warm, it started to dry out and a pool of milky water started to cover the meats. (Hey. I told her so.) It was delicious, and really is the best way to eat mozzarella. The meats that were served were great. The size would be a great starter for two people who aren’t me.
Rory, in a shocking turn of events, ordered the Angelo’s salad. It looked great, but I never expected Rory to order a salad in a million years.
For dinner, Rory ordered gnocchi which were made with white sweet potatoes and ricotta, and were served with oyster mushrooms and an asparagus cream.
I was impressed that the gnocchi were handmade, and even got to try one. It was very good, and well worth the price ($11 for that size).
My dinner, on the other hand, was a different story.
I ordered the chicken Milanese (Seasoned Panko Bread crumbs, Arugula, Red Onions, Tomatoes, Lemon, Olive Oil, Balsamic – $26).
The arugula salad was alright, really sweet. The balsamic vinegar dressing the salad was delicious but may have been over applied. The chicken was underwhelming. The breading was lacking in seasoning and relied on the grated cheese on top for this. The bites that had a good amount of cheese were better than the bites that didn’t, but the difference was minuscule. I thought the size was small for the price; at similar area restaurants, a much more substantial and better tasting portion of chicken Milanese costs less.
It wasn’t bad; it just didn’t meet my expectations which were set based on everything else brought to the table.
Overall, the meal was very good if overpriced.
Rory had some fun with the salt and pepper shakers, which looked like a waiters bell.
While we were waiting for our main courses, something, um, weird happened.
An extremely skinny man wearing a motorcycle jacket and pants walked through the restaurant and demanded to sit out on the patio. He refused to take off his helmet as he walked through the restaurant. It was just very peculiar, and was something that we were fixated on for a few minutes. This picture proves that it really happened.