Confetti Ristorante & Vinoteca: Piermont, NY
July 09, 2014
I feel a bit Takei when I say "recommended by a fan."
Confetti, in Piermont, NY, was "recommended by a reader." That doesn't sound much better. Anyway this fella was telling me all about their good pasta and that a proper Negroni could be had at this sort-of-water-front restaurant that I had never given a second thought to. Or first thought for that matter.
But he seemed genuine and earnest, so I put Confetti (or Confetti's, if you want to sound just a little silly) on my list of places to try.
On a recent sunny Sunday afternoon, we headed to Piermont to check out the scene.
We snagged one of the many outdoor seats under the umbrellas and settled in with our basket of bread. The large floor to ceiling doors of the restaurant open fully to the patio, so if you want to get out of the heat and sun, which would have been a good idea on this day, sitting just inside is a nice option.
My intention was to order a Negroni and a bowl of pasta, and that's exactly what I did. We also ordered an app and of course the missus had to get herself an entree as well.
The waitress didn't seem to know what a Negroni was. No big deal. I probably didn't know what a Negroni was until a few years ago--although the missus tells me we spent much time in Florence drinking them back in the early aughts. I explained that it's gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, in equal parts (give or take), on the rocks, and noted that the bartender should know what it is. I mean, they do have those little books, and I suppose the internet, don't they?
While I'm at it, I should note that they don't have fresh lime juice at Confetti. I just don't understand this at all. WTF is wrong with restaurant and bar owners? Are you that lazy or ignorant? You make me very angry.
The Negroni was completely serviceable. I prefer a proper twist in cocktails, rather than the half wagon wheel of fruit, but finding a proper twist in bars outside of major metropolitan areas is a bit of a challenge. "Twist" has been debased to "a slice of unwashed fruit." These are the things I have to put up with. These are my challenges in life.
Enough of my nonsense. Let's get to the food.
The menu leans "Italian." Maybe even a little more "real" Italian than Italian-American, which is what you'll find at most restaurants in New Jersey and the rest of the country, regardless of if they refer to themselves as "Southern" or "Northern" Italian. It's all the same stuff here in the states and doesn't resemble any food I've had in northern or southern Italy.
Enough of my nonsense. Let's get to the food.
For some reason that I cannot explain, I didn't order the octopus or pork belly. For some other reason that I cannot explain, we ordered the cold seafood salad. Not a standard order for me, that's for sure. Billed as containing calamari, shrimp, scungilli, and lobster, it was light on the lobster and shrimp and heavy on the calamari. That's fine with me. But I'd be more impressed if they just left the lobster and shrimp off of the menu so what I receive is what is advertised. The seafood was tender and cooked well, and the lemon livens up this healthful dish. It's hard to argue with the virtues of a dish this simple, and I may be ordering it more often in the future (sorry, pork belly).
The veal piccata, a dish from what I figure isn't Italian, much less "Northern" or "Southern," was served with a grilled artichoke and a potato croquette. We would have liked the egg batter to stick to the veal a bit more than it did, rather than sort of sliding off and getting mixed into the sauce. We also thought it could have used a bit more salt.
The real stars of the dish were that halved grilled artichoke and the fluffy, cheesy, creamy croquette. Too often Italian American places will serve some sort of inedible crap potato and vegetable "medley" that you'd find at a banquet rather than at an Italian home or restaurant. Confetti gets props for giving us something not only edible, but exceptional.
Linguini with clams hit all of the marks. I really enjoyed this dish. This simple preparation can be marred by many mistakes, not limited to overcooked pasta and the heavy-handed and lazy use of butter. Not here, though. It sounds ridiculous, but I liked the way they lined those tiny tender clams up around the perimiter of the plate, each with a bit of sauce. This made it easier to get at 'em.
How about some wine?
They had a Falanghina on the wine list, but it was only available by the bottle. These can be wonderful wines with great acidity and bright tropical fruit (including lots of banana). They did have a Vermentino, a variety planted in Sardinia, from producer Argiolas by the glass (actually, by the quartino). This was spot on, and not much unlike the Falanghina that I wanted. Lots of tropical fruit, bright, with mouth-watering acidity. A great food wine. This wine is available in NJ and is about 12 bucks a bottle (imported by Winebow). I'll be looking for it.
It was only a single meal but Confetti certainly lived up to my expectations. More is going right than wrong, and the things that are right are really right. A pleasant surprise in Piermont.
Confetti : 200 Ash Street : Piermont, NY : 845.365.1911