Conti’s, a star along Northern Boulevard

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Conti's restaurant

Northern Boulevard in Little Neck hosts some of the finest restaurants in the New York metropolitan area. A star among this galaxy is Conti’s, at 249-11 Northern Boulevard. A warm welcome by partner Alessandro was the opening to a very pleasant and relaxing dining experience.

With subdued music supplied by keyboardist Lynn and pleasant lighting, the atmosphere of this 75-seat restaurant, with a nicely appointed bar, offered something not possible in larger eateries — the ability to converse with my dining partners in normal tones.

Opening cocktails were generous and my Negroni was mixed to perfection.

Good-sized appetizers were presented in the most decorative manner, with crab meat served in a star of fennel leaves. Prosciutto ham was served with roasted peppers and mozzarella.

The calamari grilled with lemon and balsamic vinegar was the most tender and sweet I have had in a long time. The mushroom appetizer offered a combination of shiitake, portobello and porcini topped with shaved parmigiano cheese and a truffle oil drizzle. Thinly-sliced raw filet mignon with arugula salad, shaved parmigiano and a truffle oil drizzle was delightful. Oyster offerings were raw, casino and Rockefeller.

Each of us had a different entree, including a double-cut tender veal chop grilled to perfection with a side dish of homemade green and white linguini; chicken with asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes; red snapper with a parmigiano crust sautéed in a dry vermouth and lemon sauce served over broccoli rabe; and sesame-crusted ahi tuna over spinach, garlic and oil. All portions were generous and pleasing to the eye and palate. Delicious in everyone’s opinion.

Also offered but not sampled are whole branzino, sea bass and striped bass broiled whole with garlic, oil and white wine on the side. A great pasta entrée is homemade gnocchi in a chunky veal osso bucco sauce. Gluten-free pasta is available, and it was fabulous. One of our chicken dishes was prepared gluten-free — amazing. Those on a celiac restricted diet will really appreciate this.

The desserts we sampled were homemade Italian cheesecake and Napoleons, and both were light and delicious.

One must visit Conti’s to enjoy a stellar culinary experience.