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Nick & Pedro’s: Salads, ingredients add to Manhasset charm

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Nick & Pedro’s

1496 Northern Blvd.

Manhasset

516-365-6930

The ladies who lunch at Nick & Pedro’s, east of Searington Road on the ritzy stretch of Northern in Manhasset, dine American on salads and such. Come evening, in the grotto-like setting, neighborhood couples and foursomes go Italian /Continental.

This year-old restaurant, named for owners Nick and Pedro, is No. 2 for them. (The other, Romantico Due, is further out in Smithtown.) Nick is the Italian connection while Pedro—and Victor, his brother, the chef—hail from El Salvador. The dining room is approachable from two entries. We drove into the huge parking lot in the rear and strolled under the black awning to the concourse level, passing the meat lockers on our way upstairs.

Votive lights were glowing in gilt-rimmed holders. An oversized black urn reposes on a tall black pedestal overflowing with forsythia and such was centered in the low red brick-like walls with white framed mirrors reflecting garden vistas above. (Up front at the Northern Boulevard entrance there’s a small secluded bar.) The Coliseum and Pisa’s leaning tower are represented. I’d love pale blue for sky overhead or if this is a “garden grotto,” a cave-like ceiling color.

We sipped our drinks. An orange slice is presented draped over the rim of an empty cognac glass-a nicety which delights. Add it if you please.

We nibbled on green and black olives in oil from a small white dish. Or you may forgo the olives and concentrate on dipping snippets of the chewy Italian bread therein.

An endearing procedure: our waiter handed us the menu noting that “tonight’s specials and prices are inserted.” The salads—seven in all—were a creative crossing of Italian and Latin America. Insalata della casa and insalata di Ruth use kernels of corn. Insalata di Ruth and insalata exotic use hearts of palm cut in sticks. My insalata Ruth, with arugula, orange, hearts of palm, corn and balsamic dressing, was intriguing. Insalata della casa is slated for next time, with mixed greens, heart of palm, corn, mozzarella, walnuts and the house dressing,

My dining companion had carpaccio bomba with slices of beef, endive, arugula, radicchio, Parmigiano and olive oil. The greens were heaped high with a few slices beef circling it—heavy on Parmigiano and greens, sparse on beef.

Soft shell crabs are back on summertime menus. Spinach makes a great bedding. The sauce is ever tasty, but it overwhelms the crabs. (Tell me what you think.) I was in a zuppa di pesce mood: clams, mussels, calamari, scallops, shrimp, salmon and tuna in a light seafood broth over cappelini. It arrived with mussels and tiny clams attractively ringing all the above seafood. The chunks of salmon were particularly moist and luscious but it was a broth sauce, rather than a zuppa.

Let me note right here and now, that from Sunday to Thursday at anytime— a $25 prix fixe dinner menu is available with a lengthy list of appetizers, a tremendous number of great pastas and a veal and a salmon number. Yes, coffee, tea and dessert are include.

Our dessert menu offered American pies, apple and pecan, and carrot cake as well as chocolate mousse cake and peanut butter chocolate mousse cake. My companion’s cannolli reclined on a bed of whipped cream. “It’s filled just before serving.” he noted as he crunched away. Tartufo, classic or hazelnut, was for me. Here, a ball of hazelnut ice cream is thinly coated with chocolate and the tartufo is cut in seven to eight wedges—no cherry hides in the middle but three or four grapes dot the whipped cream circled with wedges.

Do check the Chef's Favorite listing. (Sauté dello chef with clams, mussels, shrimp in garlic, olive oil and wine served with garlic toast sounds great to me.) Look them even before you head east to Nick & Pedro's.

The Bottom Line

Ladies lunch American on salads. Dinner time it’s Italian/Co­ntinental. Nick is Italian. Pedro and his brother/chef Victor hail from El Salvador. Garden grotto setting. Enter from Northern or rear parking lot on concourse level.

Chef’s Choice

Calamari Fritti...$6.95

Saute Delio Chef (clams, mussels, chrimp, in garlic, olive oil, wine)...$7.95

Insalata della Casa...$.695

Insalata de Arugala...$7.95

Rolletine Montanara (pasta stuffed with spinach, porcini, Parmigiano)...$15.95

Linguini Bolognese...$13.95

Vitello Milanese Mateo (breaded veal cutlet served with a tomato salad)...$18.95

Homemade Chicken Ravioli Caprese (in tomato sauce, topped with mozzarella)...$16.95

Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse Cake...$6.50

Cuisine: Italian/Continental

Setting: Garden grotto

Service: Very nice

Hours: L & D 7 days

Parking: Lot, rear

Location: East of Searington

Dress: Casual

Takeout: Yes

Off-premise catering: Yes

Credit cards: All major. No Discover

Private parties: To 80

Children’s menu: Yes

Noise level: Moderate Fri. & Sat

Smoking: None

Music: Italian opera background

Handicap access: Yes (Northern Blvd.)

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