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Il Bacco Ristorante - Little Neck

Il Bacco Ristorante
253-24 Northern Blvd
Little Neck, NY 11362

Photo courtesy of ilbaccoristorante.com
Photo courtesy of ilbaccoristorante.com
Photo courtesy of ilbaccoristorante.com

Overall: 7/10
Food: 8/10
Service: 5/10
Decor: 10/10
Value: 5/10

We visited Il Bacco on a whim since we were sort of in the area. We know they have a new rooftop seating area and we figured it would be nice to sit up there since it was a beautiful day. When we first arrived, we weren't really sure of the parking situation. There appeared to be a driveway going behind the restaurant but the only sign we saw was a 'One Way' sign and we weren't certain if we could drive back there. There is metered parking outside but we wanted to see if there was anywhere else to park so my wife ran in to the restaurant to ask someone. A very nice gentleman told us that they actually have valet parking and walked her back outside and waved to the valet attendant who came and took our car. We got the kids out and walked inside.

Upon walking in, the bar is to your left, a grand staircase (and elevator) to the right, and the dining area straight ahead. You immediately take in the beautiful decor, lighting, architecture and mahogany woodwork. The same gentleman that told us of the valet service warmly welcomed us when we walked into the lobby and talked to us about our kids like he was one of our friends or family, very personable! We asked if the rooftop was open and he told us it is open during evenings only. He sat us down in the dining room, got us a high chair, and within minutes, someone brought over a plate of peppers, olives and cheese as well as bread. We were greeted by our waiter, an older Italian man, who took our drink orders and promptly returned with our sodas. He realized we still didn't have menus and supplied them and told us the specials. We realized we left our daughter's cup in the car so my wife asked if he had a kids cup or something with a lid for her but I think it threw him off guard since it seemed like he didn't know what she was talking about! He didn't think they had but he was determined to find something that she could use. It seems like he went all over the restaurant to find it, and he came back with a small plastic cup for her. No lid, but it was much better than worrying about her dropping and breaking a real glass!

We ordered the Calamari appetizer, the Ravioli with prosciutto, peas and cream sauce for my wife and I asked for the Veal Tonnato with a Tuna sauce, but I was told they no longer have that as an option. I decided on the special of Tilapia Piccata with mushrooms and artichoke hearts.

When the Calamari came out, it didn't look that crispy, which it wasn't, but the taste was good. It was elevated by the delicious, chunky tomato sauce with garlic and basil, and every other bite you got a kick of red pepper. My wife was even dipping the bread and cheese in it! When the entrees came out, everything smelled delicious. My wife loved her Ravioli and said it was so simple but delicious without being too busy. She couldn't feed our 1 year old peas and ravioli fast enough! As for my meal, the taste was good, a little fishy actually which is strange for tilapia, but the mushrooms and sauce helped to make it enjoyable.

We decided to order dessert even though my wife said she was too full. We ordered the Creme Brulee and Tiramisu. The Tiramisu was moist and flavorful, one of the better we've tasted! It had a strawberry on the side which didn't really go with it and we ended up pairing it with a few spoonfuls of Creme Brulee. As for that, the Creme Brulee was probably the largest portion of Creme Brulee I've seen to date! The custard was delicious, even better when eaten with a bite of strawberry. Unfortunately, it didn't come with any berries of its own though!

Overall, the food was delicious but in our opinion, not worth the price we paid for entrees. Appetizers and desserts were adequately priced, no complaints there--we actually took the calamari home since it was a little large for just two people. Since lunch items on the menu were I believe all under $20, and I ordered what I would think was a lunch special of Tilapia (considering it only had one filet), I was shocked to see it cost $27. It's tilapia! Shame on me for not asking the price but had I known, I would have paid $23 for the Salmon entree off the dinner menu. It's hard to justify paying that for one filet at a New York Italian restaurant when it didn't even come with a side of pasta. I think every single other Italian restaurant on Long Island has pasta sides with non-pasta entrees and would leave you STUFFED for $27 and that just didn't happen here.

As for service, the place was rather empty, with the exception of one large party of probably 10 or 12 people. Seeing how empty it was during lunch on a weekday, we were a little disappointed at how slow service was! We were there for lunch for almost 2 hours, and really pushing our luck with two young kids. It's not like the floor staff wasn't courteous and pleasant, but we had empty glasses quite a few times throughout our meal and had to ask for more water on several occasions. Not once through the meal did our waiter ask us how our food was and the food was not even brought out by him! He would walk by our table 3 or 4 times, obvious empty glasses, and wouldn't even look at our table. He was a sweet man, just not the greatest at waiting tables! Worth mentioning, at one point, the server who brought out the Calamari brought over larger plates. We had bread plates we were using for the calamari and he insisted to our waiter that he remove the bread plates. Our waiter said we were using them for the bread and oil (since we were) and the other server insisted the larger plates were better and we could just pour some more oil on the new plates. It wasn't really necessary since we were fine and it sort of made for an awkward moment since it seemed like our waiter was sort of thrown under the bus in a way. Perhaps from that moment on he just felt uncomfortable, I'm not sure.

Since we had a long drive ahead of us, we checked out the bathrooms before leaving which were downstairs. The lower level is stylishly decorated with several couches and chairs of various prints. The bathrooms are impeccable. My wife described the women's bathroom as spa-like with a beautiful glass table in the center of the room atop a large stone vase. The stalls are entirely enclosed, floor to ceiling, so its as if you're in your own separate bathroom. The only issue is that they don't have a changing table. We can never understand when a restaurant has high chairs but no changing table. If the restaurant is some hole in the wall with limited funds, fine. But it appears as though a lot and I do mean A LOT of money went into the interior of Il Bacco, so is it too much to ask to not have to change a baby's diaper on the floor? If you're a regular on this site, you know that's a huge pet peeve of ours. Anyway, since our daughter insisted, we took the elevator back upstairs and headed straight out the door. The valet attendant remembered which car was ours before I could even get out my ticket which was a nice touch that he remembered us. We hopped in the car and headed home.

We went to reheat the calamari in the oven Friday night and when my wife opened the container, she was taken aback when she saw the sauce was just dumped in with the calamari. Usually it would be put in a small plastic container or not at all. She baked it until crispy, so it was a little more enjoyable this time around.

For some final words on Il Bacco, the food is simple and delicious, but be prepared to spend a little money--more than you normally would elsewhere. If you're looking for a special night out, the atmosphere lends itself to just that, and a casual evening date would probably be even better on the rooftop. I should also note that rooftop dining is for their pizza selection only, so at $14 and under, it could potentially be a good value. But since we didn't try their pizza or dine on the rooftop, I can't comment on it! It's worth a try at least once and if it's not your thing, just move on to the next Italian restaurant! There's plenty to choose from.

Il Bacco Ristorante Italiano on Urbanspoon

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