If you ever take Northern Boulevard east bound, you probably know this restaurant as the source of traffic jams in Little Neck. Each evening valet service at the front door causes each havoc during rush hour to mildly overwhelm this 4 lane road.
Yet most people in my social circle have never been to this restaurant, as evident by the messages received on my Facebook account when I checked-in.
“Is it that place on Northern?” and “any good?”. Yes it is.
I was finally drawn to Il Bacco when an email came into my inbox announcing the opening of the rooftop for the season. Apparently during all those years of abrupt lane changes, I’ve never bothered to look up. The rooftop space, which turns into a lounge spot late at night, is one of the best I’ve seen both in pictures and in person.
While images of the rooftop drew me in, it’s the food in the first floor that will keep me coming back. After all, most Queens residents probably don’t drive to Little Neck to lounge, but it’s a great spot to stop for a meal to and from Nassau.
Service was warm and attentive throughout. From the front of the house, owner Joe greets regulars and new comers with a wide smile. Once you’re seated at the table, the wait staff displayed professionalism through experience. It’s not easy to not look impatient when you’re reading a long list of specials to every table. I was also pleasantly surprised to see each dish split in the kitchen when I mentioned that we were going to share the appetizers and pasta. Bravo.
After my miserable attempt at ordering in Italian, the meal started with mussels, clams in a rich tomato broth. The subtle seasoning allowed the shellfish to really showcase the flavor.
Next up was the margherita pizza, which I customized with slices of prosciutto. The fresh ingredients were great, but I was even more fond of the beautifully roasted crust.
Pollo Gelsomina, named after a flower, was unfortunately a letdown after a string of hits. The chicken breast was sliced thin, and cooked too dry. The seasoning also did little to complement the chicken and artichoke.
Pappardelle Bacco featured freshly made pappardelle pasta with shrimp and asparagus. The pasta was perfectly cooked, and the seasoning was delicate enough to let you fully taste the shrimp and asparagus. I’ve had pappardelle that overwhelmed you with richness, this was just right.
All in all, Il Bacco is a fine restaurant. Perfectly situated near the county line, it makes a great meal if you’re headed to the miracle mile in Manhasset. Perhaps only by experiencing a good meal will you forgive them for the traffic.
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Note: The meal was compliments of the restaurant, although this fact did not alter my opinion, nor was I required to write.
Il Bacco Ristorante Italiano
25324 Northern Blvd
Little Neck, NY 11362