Volpe

Volpe
7725 Jericho Tpke, Woodbury 516-802-7501
thefoxhollow.com

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Volpe, the newly named restaurant at the Fox Hollow in Woodbury, is part of a half-century-old saga of revival and transition that continues to this day. Volpe (it means fox in Italian) was, until recently, the Rose Hunt restaurant. Originally it was the Fox Hollow Inn. Although the name change occurred last September, the transition really began in December. Today the Scotto Brothers have made it an ultimate, special occasion restaurant that’s part of an eight-acre gold coast estate—a fortress-like colossus that includes a luxury boutique hotel, a full service catering venue, meeting rooms and a wine bar.

What was the 125-seat Rose Hunt is now an updated, redecorated venue with a sophisticated silver, black and white color scheme accented by a splash of red here and a tufted wall there. A fireplace, white table cloths, lush carpeting, framed mirrors, bay windows, shaded candles, fresh flowers, silver chandeliers and its Italian continental menu complete the picture. That menu has been slightly tweaked from its Rose Hunt days and augmented with a few new dishes.

Diners are greeted with a complementary amuse—tiny tomato halves on warm, miniature toasts. This was followed by a diverse and desirable breadbasket of focaccia, slender bread sticks, rolls and more.

If the elegant good looks and generous approach sound as though Volpe is expensive, it certainly can be. The least expensive bottles of wine cost $35; 11 of the 20 entrées are in the $32 to $40 range. Yet the most outstanding entrée sampled—a juicy, tender, free-range chicken breast at a relatively modest $24—was 1 of 8 main courses between $24 and $29. There’s also a bargain $28 Monday Night Dinner (appetizer, entrée and coffee or tea) that still lists the name Rose Hunt Room. The gifted Robert Lepley trio provides a soft jazz accompaniment on Monday nights from 8 to 11pm. Other theme nights are Wine Down Tuesdays (50 percent off select bottles), Wednesday Lobster Nights starting at $26 and the Thursday Prime Rib Lovers’ Dinner, which also begins at $26.

A mix of virtues and shortcomings dot Volpe’s menu. On the plus side are abundant, bountiful, often take-home sized dishes, even on the prix-fixe menu. A crock of homey, straightforward onion soup ($7) and the arugula topped with strips of prosciutto (on the prix-fixe dinner) are recommended starters. The caprese mozzarella and tomato salad ($10) isn’t particularly interesting while the Caesar salad ($8) suffers from a recurrent difficulty here: Timid seasoning resulting in blandness. The same malady diminishes the large bowl of linguini di mare on the prix-fixe with its many superior ingredients: Jumbo shrimp, a substantial sprinkling of calamari and peeled cherry tomatoes. Three buttery veal scaloppini portofino cutlets with a soothing white wine sauce ($25) had no such problem while a hefty helping of roast duck, accompanied by a mild orange sauce passed muster even though the skin could have been crisper.

Desserts ($7.50) went 2 for 3; The Fox Hollow apple delight, actually apple strudel, was ice cold on a freezing plate—not the cozy treat promised. The fancy presentation of traditional tiramisu in a long-stemmed glass, pleased diners that enjoy espresso dominated concoctions. All involved enjoyed the warm, silken crème brûlée crowned with caramelized sugar.

Photo by Pam Deutchman / thefphoto.com

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richard jay scholem

Richard Jay Scholem practically invented the Long Island restaurant culture through 800+ reviews of the region's eateries both on radio and in print over the last 30 years. He is a former New York Times Long Island Section restaurant reviewer, has contributed to the Great Restaurants of...magazines and Bon Vivant, authored a book, aired reviews on WGSM and WCTO radio stations, served on the board of countless community and food and beverage organizations, and received many accolades for his journalism in both print and broadcast media. He is currently available for restaurant consultation. Reach him at (631) 271-3227.