You know it’s February when Nick & Toni’s on North Main Street in East Hampton is serving $5 pizzas. But that’s not all. This forerunner of haute barnyard on the East End, with its big veggie garden in the back and its stable of celebrity clients in the front that challenges even the most connected to get a table in summer, has rolled out a number of customer-generating innovations this slow season.
A friend recently returned from pizza night with his two sons covered in dust and proudly toting one slice of each of their pizzas that they had saved for mom to sample. The kids, not always excited by food and cooking, were energized. My friend was also energized, having been allowed to throw back a beer with his own age-appropriate playmates while the chef entertained his kids in the kitchen. Could Nick & Toni’s be breaking new ground in gastro-child care?
Kids Pizza Night is every Thursday, and guides children from 6 to 12 years old through making their own pizza in the restaurant’s wood fired oven. The lesson costs $5 and the student get to eat the pizza.
Among the restaurant’s other experimental promotions are a rotating sampling of obscure Italian dishes. Joseph Realmuto, executive chef at Nick & Toni’s, who often guides the kids through pie-making, just returned from preparing a dinner at the James Beard House, where he dazzled with house cured bresaola involtini with sheep’s milk ricotta and baby arugula, crispy sweetbread spiedini, cockles minestra with cranberry beans, Salumeria Biellese sopressata and fresh thyme, house-made ricotta gnocchi with wild mushroom and winter truffle, Vermont Farms porchetta with Anson Mills toasted farro and Balsam Farms cheese pumpkin, and a trio of panna cotta.
Those who missed this memorable meal might consider showing up on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sunday, as well as Friday and Saturday from 6 to 7 P.M., when diners can try a 5-course tasting menu of regional Italian specialties. The $38 tour includes a glass of wine and starts with Friuli and head south from there. During the same days and times, the appetizers and entrées from this regional are also available as part of the $30, 2-course dinner that includes a United Artist/Loews movie voucher.
Finally, on Sunday nights, diners can live like they have a private chef, as chef Realmuto will prepare a meal specifically for the table, based on the diners’ preferences. The meal will be served family style and will include an appetizer, entrée and dessert, for roughly $35.
True, February isn’t the best time to swim in the ocean. But nothing enthralls like a walk on the beach in winter. With these deals scheduled to expire just as the dinner traffic picks up, now may be the best time for a Nick & Toni’s virgin to get initiated.
Nick & Toni's
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