(We know what we like)
By Cecily & Frederick Faux Gras
And Nick & Patsy Fagioli
(The Amateur Palate, written exclusively for Pawling Public Radio, features local restaurant reviews by four people who just like to eat. They claim no professional food knowledge, but “know what they like,” and hope their opinions will encourage others to try new food establishments and different food pairings.)
Il Compare – Close, Comfortable and Delicious
Gearing up for the holiday hoopla, the four of us set off to Il Compare in Wingdale for a pre-holiday dinner together.
On the evening we went, the restaurant was hosting two small holiday parties, but was quick to accommodate us.
We began our meal (as always) by sharing two of the appetizers; the Eggplant Stuffed with Prosciutto and Mozzarella, and the Escargot. The eggplant was delightful – lightly battered and layered with prosciutto and fresh mozzarella cheese, then baked in a white wine butter sauce. I could have eaten that all night! The boys enjoyed the Escargot sautéed with garlic butter, which they said were not rubbery like some can be if over cooked. They quickly mopped up the sauce with the warm bread that was also brought to the table along with olives, a bruchetta, and dipping oil. I was hesitant to try the escargot, but I finally speared one and found it not too difficult. Patsy gracefully refused, and happily munched on bread and olives.
House salads served with a choice of dressings (you can’t go wrong with their crumbled blue cheese and vinaigrette), were crisp and refreshing.
For our main courses, Nick savored the Backed Cheese Ravioli Parmesan Style. Jumbo round cheese ravioli were served in a casserole, baked in marinara sauce with fresh mozzarella cheese.
I had the Spaghetti Carbonara, sautéed with prosciutto, pancetta and parmesan cheese. It was decadent, and delicious! Both pancetta and prosciutto were in abundance, and the pasta was al dente and perfecto!
Frederick’s Veal Scaloppini was floured and sautéed in white wine with capers, lemon and butter. He enjoyed the medley of vegetables that came as one of the sides, but didn’t think the garlic mashed potatoes had enough garlic (he never does!).
Patsy enjoyed her Baked Ziti Parmesan, saying that the sauce was not too spicy. The ziti was tossed with ricotta cheese and marinara sauce and then baked in a casserole. Although flavorful and a nice sized portion, Patsy felt there was a little too much cheese for her taste.
Even after all that, three of us had room for dessert, so we choose from an array of made-on-premise goodies. Two of the homemade desserts that evening were pies, a Chocolate Cream Pie and Coconut Cream Pie. Both had flakey, tender crusts, and real whipped cream. The chocolate was smooth and dense and rich; while the coconut was flavorful and dotted with shaved cocoanut throughout. Nicky’s Apple Crisp was “just like mom’s”.
As usual the wait staff was attentive and professional, and the evening was relaxing and enjoyable. A great way to start off our holidays!