Sheridan Says: Cappelletti Italian Grill

October 19, 2006

Cappelletti Italian Grill

3284 Noyac Road
Sag Harbor

Cappelletti, which is on Noyac Road where Chinda's used to be, is one of those casual, friendly Italian restaurants that every neighborhood needs, with a giant take-out menu and 350 different kinds of pasta.

The dining room is very cute, with red-and-white-check tablecloths and more phony Tiffany lamps than you would think could fit into one room. The service could not be nicer - our waitress even obligingly relayed the scores of the Mets game from the take-out area.

There is a rather limited choice of appetizers, steamed clams ($13.95) or mussels ($8.95), baked clams ($9.50), soup, or a number of salads. If you don't want pasta as your main course then you can choose steak, salmon, veal parmigiana, chicken Marsala, or a couple of other classic warhorses. A big carafe of Montepulciano costs $26.

And, of course, there are all those pasta dishes - ziti and penne, tortellini and linguine, tagliatelle and fettuccine and whateverelli, with prices from $15.95 to $22.95.

It is all high-calorie fare, from the hot garlic rolls that arrived in a puddle of olive oil through the rich cream sauces to the most sugar and carb-laden dessert menu I have ever seen. But then you don't expect health-conscious haute cuisine from your neighborhood Italian place, that is not what it is all about.

Prices are definitely on the Hamptons side - $8.50 for a green salad that was just a handful of mesclun-from-the-bag topped by the stalest squares of dry bread that ever had the nerve to call themselves croutons is really taking the mickey.

There was some really lovely eggplant caponatina in the antipasto salad ($11.95) but otherwise it was the usual canned artichoke hearts, giant olives like bullets, underdone roasted peppers, and a few anchovies, all served way too cold for comfort. Another disappointment was the mozzarella, tomato, and basil salad which was a: too expensive at $10.50 and b: should have been taken off the menu at the end of the summer rather than sent out with sickly-pink, hard, tasteless slices of tomato.

Nothing but high marks for the stuffed clams, though, which had a really great flavor.

There were two ravioli dishes as daily specials, lobster and pumpkin. After we ordered pumpkin and were served lobster by mistake, the kitchen obligingly sent out an order of the pumpkin ravioli free of charge. The fillings of both were subtle and interesting, as was the sauce, but I have to say the shells were leaden.

It would be better to go for the very simple linguine with broccoli, black olives, and capers. Two rather more calorific orders we tried were also very good, a classic fettucine Alfredo and cheese tortellini in a rich cream sauce that were transformed by the addition of crunchy chopped pistachios.

Cappelletti really shines with the two desserts the restaurant makes in-house. One is a light and crunchy cannoli filled with amaretto-laced ricotta that mercifully is not over-sweet, and the other is a sumptuous tiramisu.

I have to say that the meal was somewhat of a disappointment, particularly because I have heard such good reports about Cappelletti from a number of people. Maybe we were just unlucky on this occasion.