Discover An Italian Treasure In Hauppauge
Mario Restaurant, a treasure of an eatery on Motor Parkway in Hauppauge, will have already charmed you before you’ve even reached the door. The perimeter is lined with a series of arches faux painted to resemble stone. The area outside the entrance is also painted, and portrays what might be your very own window view of a picturesque Italian landscape. You will enter through two enchanting ornate wooden doors and step into the warm elegance that permeates throughout each room.
The bar area is separated from the dining room by a wall complete with decorative glass. You won’t find the typical bowl of salty peanuts here, because there is a colorful tray of fresh hors d’oeuvres to indulge in (below left). We encountered thick, hollowed out cucumber slices filled with different toppings surrounding a bowl of black and green olives (below left). Patrons at the bar couldn’t wait to tell us all about this wonderful offering and how the selection changes from day to day.
After being seated, we sipped some excellent classic cocktails while waiting for the rest of our party to join us. We were pleased to discover that they did in fact serve their dirty martini’s with the notorious bleu cheese stuffed olives (above right) that have been ever-growing in popularity amidst the restaurant and bar crowd.
We then inquired about the wine list, which is always of interest when dining on Italian cuisine. The evening of this review, we had with us Juan Sepulveda, owner of Laurel Lake Vineyards. Juan guided our wine selections by pairing each dish with an appropriate wine. This restaurants wine list had a nice variety of reasonably priced wines from different regions many of which could be ordered by the glass or bottle.
After dipping an assortment of fresh bread into well-seasoned herb infused olive oil
(above right) we were ready to begin our culinary journey. Our first appetizer was the Ostriche
Gorgonzola (below left) - oysters with Gorgonzola cheese in a red wine reduction. Juan ordered The
Salvalai Pinot Noir to enjoy with
this dish. The wine proved to be sensual and feminine, with just the right acidity
to compliment the tangy and crisped Gorgonzola. The cheese was warm and inviting,
blanketing the tender oyster within the half shell creating quite a magnificent
the next appetizer would be the Insalata di Frutti di Mare (above right), we chose the 2007
Gabriella Pinot Grigio which proved to be a nice dry white wine for this tasty
seafood ensemble. This Italian seafood
dish was a beautiful presentation of fresh calamari, scungilli, pulpo and shrimp
lightly tossed with a lemon and olive oil dressing. The dressing drew out the
essence of the diced red bell peppers and crisp slices of celery. A few drops of
juice squeezed from the fresh wedge of lemon will complete this flavorful and
refreshing medley from the sea.
Bocconcini (above right) was served next, an antipasto consisting of tomato, roasted red pepper,
red onion and fresh mozzarella tossed with balsamic dressing over arugula salad. Two
well-balanced wines were chosen for this dish, The Concha y Toro Chilean Chardonnay
and the Kendell Jackson Chardonnay. Both these wines possess similar oak qualities
that nicely contrast the bitter bite of the arugula. This is a wonderful summertime
salad, with freshly chopped vegetables, tasty cubes of mozzarella, and sweet red
onions that glistened like jewels.
Capelli d’Angelo Mario (below left), the restaurants signature pasta dish
prepared tableside, was paired with a 2007 Melini Borghi D’Elsa, a woodsy
full-flavored Chianti (below left). Delicate angel hair pasta eagerly absorbed the
light and flavorful seafood sauce which reminded us perhaps of a fine bisque. It was
neither too salty nor too thickened with cream and had generous morsels of crabmeat,
which wrapped in a bundle of pasta made for a satisfying mouthful. Not
to mention the live cooking exhibition (above) which enhanced our dining experience and
added a touch of elegance as well.
Snapper Florentine (below left) was our next entrée, and the chosen wine was a
light Pinot Grigio aptly named “Cielo” which means “heaven”. Juicy and
well-seasoned red snapper, flaky and moist, lay over a bed of rich sautéed spinach.
Lovely slivers of garlic were popping up throughout the lush bed of greens. The fish
had a thin layer of egg batter, absorbing the wonderful taste of the garlic and
lemon butter wine sauce.
For our last entrée we were served their Sirloin Pizzaiolo (above right) with
mashed potatoes. To accompany this beef dish, we had the Louie Martini Cabernet
Sauvignon. Savory seasoned slices of tender beef were covered in a delicious
Pizzaiolo sauce that was made with basil, tomatoes, onions, peppers and mushrooms. We hope
you saved some fresh bread to scoop up this tasty sauce.
it came time for dessert we were presented a thick slice of house-made White
Chocolate Cheesecake with an Oreo crust (above right). This cheesecake was a creamy
delight garnished with fresh raspberries, whipped cream, and a drizzling of
chocolate sauce. The chocolaty crumbles of the Oreo crust contrasted most
excellently with the consistency of the decadent fluffy white chocolate filling.
the night gently winded down, with frothy cappuccinos in hand, it was hard to remove
the smiles from our faces as we reflected on the wonderful array of such delicious
Italian cuisine, wines paired to perfection and outstanding service. We