2006-11-29 / Restaurant of the Week

Gazette RESTAURANT Of The WEEK

Uncle Peter's Offers Fine Continental Cuisine
by Teresa Barile

H idden behind an unassuming faade on Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights, Uncle Peter's, a cozy, neighborhood restaurant, is a gem. Brothers Ernesto and Enrique Medina have recently completed renovations to Uncle Peter's that make the elegant dining room even warmer and cozier.

Uncle Peter's Continental Cuisine 83-15 Northern Blvd. Jackson Heights  718-651-8600 Uncle Peter's Continental Cuisine 83-15 Northern Blvd. Jackson Heights  718-651-8600 Brick and terra cotta colored walls are accented by copper

wainscoting, and soft lighting casts an amber glow. Uncle Peter's is an ideal place for an intimate dinner for two or a family dinner for ten. Lavished with personal attention from the staff, everyone will feel comfortable here. The excellent cuisine-wonderfully prepared meats, poultry and fish-is primarily Italian.

The Medina family came from Argentina, a country famous for premiere wines which are prominently featured on the menu, along with a list of other libations such as the Buenos Aires Bellini, made with champagne and a splash of peach liqueur. Coffee martinis, strawberry daiquiris and a Brazilian caipirinha give new meaning to the term "Happy Hour".

The star of the show is Uncle Peter's fine food. All the dishes at Uncle Peter's are prepared to order, beautifully presented by the expert staff and served piping hot from the kitchen. To start, our waiter brought some freshly made bruschetta on soft bread, and a bottle of pure olive oil for dipping is on every table. Hot appetizers include amazingly delicious fresh mussels sautéed in a heavenly sauce of garlic, lemon and white wine that demands to be soaked up with more warm bread ($8.95). Plump shrimp al ajillo swim in a delicious, garlicky sauce. A grilled Portobello mushroom is topped with herbs and cheese. For a cold start to your meal, try smoked Nova Scotia salmon served with capers, onions and garlic toast points, the chef's superb crabmeat and avocado salad, a fresh mozzarella and tomato salad or the house salad with fresh eggplant and hearts of palm.

An entire page of pasta dishes to choose among makes deciding a feat. Rigatoni alla Peter's, one of the most popular pasta dishes combines al dente rigatoni with tender zucchini, eggplant and plum tomatoes and tops it all with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmigiano ($15.95). Fettuccine gamberi bianco is topped with plump shrimp in a champagne cream sauce, a dish I'll have to go back for. I finished a generous bowl of Zio's penne, topped with shrimp and sun-dried tomatoes and roasted garlic tomato sauce ($18.95). Classic fettuccine carbonara, linguine and clam sauce and lasagna layered with rich, meaty Bolognese sauce are also some of the tempting choices on the menu. You can also split an order of pasta between two people as a first course.

At Uncle Peter's, fresh fish is delivered daily to become alluring main courses. Seared tilapia oreganata topped with seasoned breadcrumbs, oregano, lemon and white wine is just one example.

Fine meats take center stage. Tender veal is prepared scaloppini, with mozzarella and spinach or topped with Portobello, morel and porcini mushrooms. Tender, juicy entrana, Argentinean style skirt steak is served with a parsley and garlic sauce called chimichurri. A 16- ounce gaucho steak is cooked to order and served while still sizzling. Steak au poivre is prepared in the French manner with brandy, black peppercorns and a touch of cream. Specials of the evening included lean and tender duck a l'orange, cooked to perfection and served with oven roasted potatoes and fresh vegetables.

Sweet endings are just as impressive as the dinners at Uncle Peter's. Indulge in poached pears in red wine, or bananas flambé with rich chocolate sauce. The chef's own creamy flan with dulce de leche or strawberry napoleon pastry will end the meal in a grand way. The coffee, bought from a specialty distributor, is top notch.

Uncle Peter's has a great lunch menu too with homemade soup of the day, fresh salads, sandwiches, pasta, chicken, fish and more, from $7.95 and up. Uncle Peter's Continental Cuisine is open seven days a week, serving lunch and dinner Monday through Friday and dinner only on the weekends. Catering can be arranged for any size party and your guests will surely be impressed with the quality and presentation of the food.

Visit Uncle Peter's Continental Cuisine for fine Italian and continental dining in a warm and inviting atmosphere. Make holiday reservations for a meal in the intimate dining room now.

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