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HomeNewsArchivesITALIAN EAST END CAFE IS A WELCOME CHANGE

ITALIAN EAST END CAFE IS A WELCOME CHANGE

Jan. 12, 2002 – The 2001 Rotary East Dining-Out Book of coupons expired Dec. 15, and the East End Café coupon in ours was never used, as we simply do not see ourselves in the Big Kahuna crowd. Then a friend gave me a shake and told me the restaurant had really changed and to try it. So, in a wild card mood, we did.
Wow, what a change! This building, which housed a goodly number of restaurants, has never seen one this good before. The outside is, well, not imposing. Inside, it's Italian, but not fancy with schmaltz dripping from the ceiling. The place is clean, the tables are well spaced, the tablecloths are clean and starchy, and the staff members are friendly. Overall, a good first impression.
After we got over our surprise at the interior, we settled into the ordering process. The specials are Italian and the menu is a great mix of pastas. Almost as an afterthought, we decided to try a couple of the appetizers.
I am a sucker for leeks. As a child, I thought they were wonderful onions with their superior size and gentle flavor. My first trial at single-handed cooking was a rhubarb pie; my second was cream of leek soup.
The staff at East End was preparing leek greens for a garnish and got hooked on the crisp leaves they had dipped in flour and flashed in olive oil. Get a plate of these crispy palate pleasers, and your drinks disappear while everyone dips into the dish and contributes to the conversation. Not only do the leaves taste fabulous and do a great job awakening your palate; they do not fill you up and obstruct the enjoyment of the food to come.
Another winner: an appetizer of garlic-bathed cilantro mixed with fresh tomato and onion. It comes over four slices of toast with plenty left over for straight use or to garnish slices of East End's fine bread. The bread has a nice crust with a soft interior, making a fine appetizer in its own right, as well as appetizer dipper and plate cleaner!
When it comes to the entrees, I advise you think leftovers from the get-go. We had an assortment of pastas and the eggplant parmigiana. Everyone took some home for nibbles the following lunch/breakfast/whatever. The spinach fettuccine with cream sauce was definitely smooth. The spaghetti in a pink sauce was not only most succulent, but also kind to your stomach. Finally, the angel-hair pasta with Italian ham and cream sauce was so good it was a temptation to pig it all down. Thank you, whoever, for great, moderate-priced Italian cookery!
While we were there, we were not bothered by artificial noise from boom boxes or any other source. The management left us to our own devices, and we enjoyed our conversation. We noted that customers at other tables also were quite animated, and yet no one had to shout to be heard across the table.
One area for mild criticism is the restrooms. They are spacious and clean enough, but the evening we dined they had a strong order of chlorine. I would suggest a more gentle cleanser and maybe a first-class liquid soap to bring the facilities into line with the food.
There is ample parking in the area — on the road, across the road, and in the American Yacht Harbor lots. On a busy night, however, you may be in for a bit of a stroll. This is not necessarily bad, as following dinner you will need to exercise a bit.
East End Café
Ambience: 3 stars
Food: 4 stars
Service: 4 stars
Value: 5 stars
Red Hook in the old Johnny Harms Building
(340) 715-1442
Dinner 6-10 p.m. daily
Italian
Amex, MasterCard, Visa
Editor's note: The Tottering Taster is a senior citizen dedicated to enjoying good food who periodically dines in local establishments to bring Source readers unsolicited assessments biased in favor of an ultimate eating-out experience. The individual uses a pseudonym so restaurant personnel will not be able to identify the reviewer and try to influence the review.

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Jan. 12, 2002 - The 2001 Rotary East Dining-Out Book of coupons expired Dec. 15, and the East End Café coupon in ours was never used, as we simply do not see ourselves in the Big Kahuna crowd. Then a friend gave me a shake and told me the restaurant had really changed and to try it. So, in a wild card mood, we did.
Wow, what a change! This building, which housed a goodly number of restaurants, has never seen one this good before. The outside is, well, not imposing. Inside, it's Italian, but not fancy with schmaltz dripping from the ceiling. The place is clean, the tables are well spaced, the tablecloths are clean and starchy, and the staff members are friendly. Overall, a good first impression.
After we got over our surprise at the interior, we settled into the ordering process. The specials are Italian and the menu is a great mix of pastas. Almost as an afterthought, we decided to try a couple of the appetizers.
I am a sucker for leeks. As a child, I thought they were wonderful onions with their superior size and gentle flavor. My first trial at single-handed cooking was a rhubarb pie; my second was cream of leek soup.
The staff at East End was preparing leek greens for a garnish and got hooked on the crisp leaves they had dipped in flour and flashed in olive oil. Get a plate of these crispy palate pleasers, and your drinks disappear while everyone dips into the dish and contributes to the conversation. Not only do the leaves taste fabulous and do a great job awakening your palate; they do not fill you up and obstruct the enjoyment of the food to come.
Another winner: an appetizer of garlic-bathed cilantro mixed with fresh tomato and onion. It comes over four slices of toast with plenty left over for straight use or to garnish slices of East End's fine bread. The bread has a nice crust with a soft interior, making a fine appetizer in its own right, as well as appetizer dipper and plate cleaner!
When it comes to the entrees, I advise you think leftovers from the get-go. We had an assortment of pastas and the eggplant parmigiana. Everyone took some home for nibbles the following lunch/breakfast/whatever. The spinach fettuccine with cream sauce was definitely smooth. The spaghetti in a pink sauce was not only most succulent, but also kind to your stomach. Finally, the angel-hair pasta with Italian ham and cream sauce was so good it was a temptation to pig it all down. Thank you, whoever, for great, moderate-priced Italian cookery!
While we were there, we were not bothered by artificial noise from boom boxes or any other source. The management left us to our own devices, and we enjoyed our conversation. We noted that customers at other tables also were quite animated, and yet no one had to shout to be heard across the table.
One area for mild criticism is the restrooms. They are spacious and clean enough, but the evening we dined they had a strong order of chlorine. I would suggest a more gentle cleanser and maybe a first-class liquid soap to bring the facilities into line with the food.
There is ample parking in the area -- on the road, across the road, and in the American Yacht Harbor lots. On a busy night, however, you may be in for a bit of a stroll. This is not necessarily bad, as following dinner you will need to exercise a bit.
East End Café
Ambience: 3 stars
Food: 4 stars
Service: 4 stars
Value: 5 stars
Red Hook in the old Johnny Harms Building
(340) 715-1442
Dinner 6-10 p.m. daily
Italian
Amex, MasterCard, Visa
Editor's note: The Tottering Taster is a senior citizen dedicated to enjoying good food who periodically dines in local establishments to bring Source readers unsolicited assessments biased in favor of an ultimate eating-out experience. The individual uses a pseudonym so restaurant personnel will not be able to identify the reviewer and try to influence the review.