Atmosphere: Cozy elegance. Prince Range: Moderately expensive. Appetizers are in the $2.95 range, while main dishes run from about $4 for pasta dishes to $6.50 to $7.50 for main courses. Hours: Open seven days from 11:30 a.m. to midnight. Credit cards: American Express, Diners Club, Carte Blanche, Mastercharge. Reservations: Advisable on weekends. Special facilities: High chairs and boosters available. Accessible to the handicapped.
The Alpine is an excellent place for a family evening out, a restaurant for all ages. There are booster seats and free Shirely Temples for the little people and very good food served in a civilized atmosphere to please the big ones.
So don't be intimidated by the waiter's black bow ties or the fresh table linen. Children are welcome. In fact on the Sunday evening we visited the Alphine, there are several familes with families with children dining and the maitre d' had run out of booster seats.
We were directed a table in the restaurant's front room, which like the rest of the establishment is decorated in a sort of Bavarian hunting lodge style. Owner Ermanno Tonizzo said that he and his partner, Giusseppe Gagliardi, inherited the decor when they bought the place in 1966, and decided to keep it even though their cuisine would be Italian rather than Bavarian. It's not a bothersome anomoly. After all. Italy does have alps.
Our waiter took our bar orders - two Shirely Temples for the boys and a white wine for me - then returned with the menu, which is extensive and a real treat to read.
Just the range of veal dishes is staggering - there are about 11 veal specialties: Saltemboccoa, $6.50, Scallopinni Angelica, $7.25 Cotolette di Vitello Valdostana, $7.25,and so on.
To prepare these, owner-chefs Tonizzo and Gagliardi say they buy the whole veal and carve it themselves. Some of the chicken dishes, like the Pollo Chertsino, which is a rolled chicken stuffed and done in wine and cream, sounded tempting too. So did the scampi dishes, at $7.95 and $7.50.
There is also a raft of soups like minestone, pasta im brodo, onion, and vichysoisse, all for 95 cents each. An antipasto platter is $2.95, or if you're really spluring, an antipasto caldo with claims casino and escargots along with all the other good things Italians like to start off their meals. Needless to say, there's also the usual selection of pasta dishes, including spaghetti, linguini, manicotti, in the $3.75 to $4.75 range.
Our children ordered from the pasta selections, fried calamari - squid for the uninitiated - with spaghetti for our 6-year-old and ravioli for the little one. Although the Apline has no children's menu, they will prepare a children portion of any item on the menu for half price plus 25 cents. The boys' order came to $2.95 each.
My husband chose an antipasto, $2.95, for starters, which he generously shared - at least the black olives - with the children. For the next course my husband ordered saltembocca; I chose bass Livornese. $6.50. A vegetable of the day comes with the main dish, or you may substitute a salad for a side order of pasta. I chose the salad, which arrived before my fish and was dressed with good vinaigrette sauce. My husband ordered pasta.
The saltembocca was delicious, its sauce delicate yet tasty. My fish was excellent - sweet and flaky and covered with a good tomato sauce rich with green peper and onion.
During our meal, a guitar-strumming singer entered the room, sat down before the fireplace and sang two numbers. All of us appreciated that extra little touch, which made it seem like a special night out.
We left without succumbing to the treats of the treats of the dessert menu - cannoli, spumoni, cake, etc., in the $1.50 range. Our bill, excluding tip came to $24.05.