It’s not often that I find myself craving Italian food rather than a hearty bowl of pasta, but when I want a little something extra with a homemade style and restaurant flair, then I know where I’m heading. Right here in Smithtown, there is an Italian restaurant that will be sure to give any Italian family recipes a run for their money.
Located on Middle Country Road, halfway between Smithtown’s main village area and the Smithhaven Mall, is Mauricio’s Orlando’s II, nondescript on the outside and easy to pass if not looking for it, but quite charming, with a quaint ambience on the inside.
Family owned by Mauricio and his sons, their service is impeccable. The friendly staff go out of their way to ensure you have a fine dining experience, and if you are a regular there, as my parents are every Friday night, you will certainly already know how friendly Mauricio and his family can be. In essence, when you dine there, you are extended family, and will be treated as such.
The price-fixed menu is extensive and reasonable. Offering a full meal which includes Appetizer, Main Course, Coffee and Dessert for only $20.95, it is hard to not make this restaurant a weekly visit, especially if you enjoy Italian, or if you just wish to experiment, as the choice combinations are seemingly endless.
Appetizers range from delectable Mussels in a White Wine Sauce to the traditional Baked Clams or Fried Calimari, as well as one of my favorites, Gamerberoni Imperiale; Jumbo Stuffed Shrimp with Cheese and Bacon. A few dollars extra, but well worth it, and also thankfully available as a full meal if you find yourself craving more. One bite into those succulent shrimp with the combination of smoky bacon and melted cheese, and you just might think a full meal is in order.
Aside from the standard appetizer, you are also presented with a fine selection of soups and salads to choose from, many with a unique flair that sets them apart from more mundane offerings, such as Eggdrop Soup with Spinach, or a salad of Arugula, Endive, and Radicchio.
Everything on the menu is listed in both Italian and in English, so although I learned a few words on my trip to Italy, I was not left rendered with a blank stare, staring at a menu I could not understand.
For the Main Course, you are virtually assaulted with several choices spanning the categories of Pasta, Veal, Chicken, Beef and Fish. You may find yourself perusing the menu for several minutes, while your brain attempts to settle on a singular dish, many of them equally tempting and promising your taste buds tantalizing pleasure.
A personal favorite of mine is the Spaghetti with Baby Shrimp and Basil, in Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Garlic. The basil and shrimp are plentiful, and I always ask for extra garlic. A house signature dish, Trio Orlando’s, Chicken, Veal and Shrimp in a Light Garlic Sauce is also a treat, a cornucopia of different flavors and an obvious choice if you are torn between various dishes.
As with some of the appetizers, some of the main courses will require you to part with a few extra dollars, but the portions are generous, and when you sink your teeth into the Grilled Filet Mignon, or a tender slice of Roasted Duck, you will forget about your wallet, and order another glass of wine from their comprehensive wine list to accompany your meal.
Whether your belly is fit to bursting or if you are ready to take on more, you will find it impossible to resist the lure of fresh dessert, presented to you in all its sugary rich glory on the dessert cart. Pies and cakes abound, but the rich Tiramisu is always a favorite, and the cheesecake alights your senses with its sinful creaminess.
The perfect ending to this fine meal is to take a moment to sit back and relax and digest, and enjoy a nice cup of coffee, espresso, or cappuccino, or perhaps a flavorful after-dinner cordial.
And don’t forget to plan your next visit, there certainly is an ample amount of food left to try.