pom couscous

pom steak

Three Fat Boys in Astoria

by Michael Tucker
Print Email

ImageCall out the riot squad! Barricade the streets! Lock up your daughters! The Three Fat Unemployed Actors’ Lunch Club is on the loose again — this time in the far reaches of Queens at the wonderful Trattoria L’Incontro. Our boys met at noon at the downtown #1 train, transferred at Forty-Second Street for the N and rode that to the very last stop on the line – Astoria — Ditmars Boulevard. From there, it’s just a short stroll to L’Incontro at 2176 31st Street.

There’s a moment when you first walk into a restaurant – and catch that first whiff from the kitchen — that can make or break the whole meal. That moment sets you up; it keys you into the kind of experience you’re going to have. And it’s not just the smell – although the smell is crucial; if you walk into a restaurant that has no smell, turn around and walk out – but it’s also the look, the sounds and the faces of the people who greet you. Some people innately understand hospitality, some don’t; you can’t fake it. Trattoria L’Incontro understands – it has it all – great cooking smells, a spacious, unpretentious room, the tinkle of glass and silver and the wonderful sense that you are in the hands of consummate pros who will not only please you, but take enormous pleasure and pride in pleasing you.

We were in Fat Boy heaven and we knew it. We staked out our relative positions at the table (three is a great number because inevitably we get a table for four and we can stretch out); we unfolded our napkins and opened our menus; we discussed our choices of water and wine and then we entered into negotiations with the wait staff, which is, in my opinion, among the best in New York. I would say the best, but I don’t want to piss anybody off.

Image“Would you like to hear about today’s specials?”

Of course we would.

And then, like a Greek poet or an Arthurian minstrel, he began to lovingly describe the literally hundreds of possibilities for our lunch – all from the gifted hand of chef Rocco Sacramone. We wanted everything, of course. That’s how we got to be the Three Fat Boys. What to do? How to choose? Our waiter sensed the problem and subtly suggested, “you might want to try a couple of different antipasti and I’ll split them three ways?”

Perfect! We chose the grilled sardines (the best –mopping up the oil on our plates with crusty bread) and the burrata with prosciutto (rich, silky, salty and sweet).

ImageWe were off to a good start. Then the pasta course: again we had two separate pastas, split three ways – spaghetti with lobster, tomato and a dash of fresh mint (unbelievable!) and fresh-made ravioli, stuffed with veal and sausage and topped with a large mound of fresh, sliced porcini (to die for!). We were sipping a Banfi Rosso di Montalcino, which was perfect and at a very good price. L’Incontro doesn’t overly jack up the wine prices,which is another example of their hospitality.

Our waiter sensed we were full, but that we didn’t want to stop. He intuited our dilemma. So he recommended a simple fish dish – tiger fish filets, sauteed simply in butter and lemon – one dish split three ways.
Perfect.

We passed on dessert and coffee because we all had to run back to see if our agents called, but we agreed that this is a place we’ll return to – so that slowly, over many visits, we can make a serious dent in that specials list.

 

Michael Tucker is an actor and author whose third book is the recently published Family Meals: Coming Together to Care for an Aging Parent.  

 

Comments   

0 #1 MaineBeaches 2010-12-13 10:37
The spaghetti with lobster, tomato, and fresh mint sounds great. Do you think you can get the restaurant to share the recipe?
Quote

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

Restaurant News

The Golden State
Los Angeles
by Laraine Newman

believer2010.gifI recently joined Facebook and that is another story for another time, but its relevant to what I’m telling you because I’ve never made a friend this way until recently.

I was reading my favorite...

Read more...
Clementine
Los Angeles
by Laraine Newman

shirley_temple_sm.jpg Clementine, the great west-side L.A. charcuterie has amazing candies, too...

Ok, so I love Shirley Temple.  Anyone who thinks I’m a sap can eat me.  She was a genius.  There’s never been a child...

Read more...
The Charcoaler Restaurant
Texas
by Scott R. Kline

charcoaler-drive-in-1.jpgThe Charcoaler in El Paso, Texas, looks like it fell out of time capsule from the 1950s. That is a good thing. A beautiful glass fronted open building sits back from busy Mesa Drive with an...

Read more...
Russell House Tavern
Boston
by Kitty Kaufman

russell house 5Here's how Dilusha and I decide where to go. She sends a text, "I'm hungry, let's eat," and then I have to find the place. We always get lucky in Cambridge and so we did at Russell House for...

Read more...