King Umberto Restaurant
Warm Rolls, Garlic Bread, Olive Oil
Pepperoni Sicilian Slice
Pepperoni Grandma Slice
Vodka Grandma Slice
Meatball Sicilian Slice
Fried Capellini – Fried Angel Hair Pasta, Cheese
Seafood Arancini – Risotto, Mozzarella Cheese, Crab, Shrimp, Scallops, Creamy Lobster Sauce
Paglia E Fieno – Green and White Fettuccini, Cream, Onions, Prosciutto, Mushrooms, Peas, Grilled Chicken
Penne alla Vodka
Chicken Parmigiana – Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella Cheese
Milky Way – Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Mousse, Caramel Mousse, Chocolate Ganache
Pistachio Profiterole – Cream Puffs, Pistachio Ice Cream, Chocolate Ganache, Crushed Pistaschios
Tartufo Limoncello – Lemon Gelato, Limoncello Cream, Meringue Sprinkles
Located at 1343 Hempstead Turnpike since 1976 it was on the advice of John Arena (and generations of New Yorkers) that reservations were made at King Umberto, the Restaurant currently headed by Pietro Fuschetto and Giovanni Lombardi making up one half of the space in Elmont while their acclaimed Pizzeria featuring Pies by Ciro and John Cesarano accounts for the other fifty percent.
Focused on traditional Italian Cuisine steeped in America’s affinity for Red Sauce, the space tripling in size since its earliest years, guests will find ample street parking on Meacham Avenue prior to entering one of two doors, the first encountered nearly overflowing with guys eating Pizza at 4:00pm while the more formal dining room included only a few guests, though it also would be 3/4 full just ninety minutes later.
Elegant without being stuffy, the Bar up front compact and divided from a room decorated for the holidays, it was seated in a rounded booth that suited waiters arrived with menus and Water, the subsequent decision making a laborious process as nearly twenty items sounded delicious though the middle-aged server was happy to offer recommendations.
Warm in atmosphere and popular amongst an older crowd, accents from The Bronx prominent at a table of eight nearby, it was at the presentation of a complimentary Bread Basket that decisions were finalized, a quick run to the Pizzeria assuring nothing was overlooked and the waiter happy to oblige a request of five Slices to start.
In many ways a traditional Slice shop, the choice of Triangles or Squares favoring the latter with Grandma-style and Sicilian both offered, it was after a quick trip to the oven that Crust met teeth, a pronounced crunch giving way to soft Focaccia topped in Cheese, Sauce and Meatballs, the Pepperoni-topped version similar and clearly a product of long-fermented Dough while Grandma Slices were thinner but more crispy and most noteworthy for one topped in the Cesarano’s creamy Vodka Sauce.
Allowed time to finish every bite before proceeding to the combined course of Entrees and Appetizers, a daily special of Arancini sporting Seafood arguably too small for an adequate ratio of exterior to cheesy Rice, no such issue was found in King Umberto’s signature Fried Capellini that takes thin Noodles and binds them with Mozzarella and a bit of Egg before frying them, the result one addictive bite after another whether eaten naked or slathered in house Sauce.
Also enjoying elongated Potato Croquettes, a bit plain but beautifully textured, it was here that Pasta took center stage, ribbons of Fettuccini a bit heavy in the Sauce department but otherwise a compelling blend of Proteins and Vegetables while Penne topped in Vodka Sauce was expectedly remarkable considering the Pizza, as too was classic Chicken Parm offered in a portion easily sharable by two or more for just $21.95.
Again faced with tough choices at Dessert, over a dozen items made on-site, it was with limited stomach capacity remaining and a long flight to follow that only three were requested, the Profiteroles’ Choux unfortunately a bit flaccid while Tartufo featuring Gelato and Limoncello both made in-house was elegant and refreshing in contrast to seven layers of Cake and Frosting that does indeed resemble the eponymous Candy Bar but with far better ingredients and an expectedly superior texture by replacing Nougat with Vanilla Cream.