Nick & Toni’s vs. Nick & Toni’s Cafe
One of the hardest acts to pull off is to have two similar (or identical) restaurant concepts operate successfully miles apart - in the case of Nick & Toni’s (in East Hampton) and Nick & Toni’s Cafe (W. 67th in NYC), 120 miles apart. The verdict? They nail it.
As far as I’m concerned, the deciding mark of a great restaurant these days is service. George Colucci is the new GM at Nick & Toni’s Café and Richard Scoffier is his assistant. Both men supervise the floor with professionalism. Waiters need and appreciate a manager that leads; it certainly showed on our visit - service was prompt, warm and efficient.
The menus of the two restaurants are similar - after all, the executive chef of both operations is Joseph Realmuto. And they share the same name. So if you go to each restaurant, you’ll find on the menu - for instance - zucchini chips, romaine salad with Caesar dressing, penne alla vecchi bettola, and whole fish. Ditto for such excellent Molly Harding desserts like my favorite, the tartufo! We ordered the Caesar, the penne, and the zucchini chips - they were perfectly prepared and had the same flavors and presentation as Nick & Toni’s in East Hampton. As well, the bread and olives are the same – this would make a Nick & Toni’s (the East Hampton store) customer feel right at home (and vice versa). Other dishes that we ordered included Satur Farms arugula and blood orange salad, Cherry Wood smoked duck breast salad, Atlantic salmon and a scallop special that featured Diver scallops over mache and fennel - very light and flavorful. In fact, all the dishes were satisfying.
Nick & Toni’s Café has its own identity - decidedly West Side, which from a restaurant concept standpoint means relaxed but serious about cuisine and service. If only I lived on the West Side.