Willy Parkers American Bar and Grill in Williston Park was opened three years ago and closed after one and a half years. Six months after the closing Rino and Louis Di Maria took over the reborn Willy Parker, created a fictional Willy and left his bio to patrons imagination. In the summer of 2011, fate intervened when a noted star chef arrived at the restaurant looking for a job. Eric Engvaldson ,after years in corporate America wanted to return to his first love as an Executive Chef. His arrival heralded a new era of excitement and fabulous food for Willy Parkers. Eric had worked with Daniel Bouloud as head saucier, He had served as Chef De Cuisine at Jean George, and Executive corporate chef- for the Sbarro family. From 2005-2011, he was the Executive Chef at Sole Oceanside. Since Eric’s arrival, Willy Parker has been serving full houses and receiving top reviews from the NY Times.
I have to admit that I have been a long time fan of Rino and Louis Di Maria, after years of loving their family pizza restaurant in Roslyn. Both of these hardworking, ambitious, and entrepreneurial young men have always served a terrific product and cared about their customers.
Visiting the new Willy Parker and seeing Rino and Louis’s latest venture was an exciting and memorable experience. . The restaurant’s interior is clean, open and comfortable with table seating, a thriving bar area, and a special room designed specifically for catering and events.
Rino greeted us at the door and led us to our table. Tonight, Rino wanted to show us the type of cuisine Executive Chef Eric was capable of creating. Eric’s food was eyeopening and simply fabulous.
We started our tasting with an absolutely outstanding sweet corn chowder made with pan seared shrimp. Similar in taste and color to lobster bisque, but better.
For appetizers, Rino brought over a special salad of Organic mixed greens, tempura avocado, with butter braised lobster. Generously portioned, and a visual and taste delight.
Our next courses were served tapas style beginning with petite lollipop lamb chops with cauliflower puree, with a gorgonzola horseradish truffle demi glaze. Fully comparable to some of the finest meat dishes at luxe steakhouses on the North Shore and NYC. The chops were sizzling in their own juices and amazingly juicy.
We then turned to a dish of Crab Napolean- Tomato Pasta Sheets layered with seasoned crabmeat with Roasted Tomato Buerre Blanc. An absolute “show stopper” visually stunning and absolutely delicious.
We finished our meal with a Creme Brulee and a cheescake made with graham cracker crumb and cheesecake truffles. Sweet, and beautifully presented.
Willy Parker’s everyday menu also offers an exciting array of comfort food dishes such as an authentic Texas chili made with beef, pork, beans pepper, onion with melted cheddar cheese as well as a classic Caesar salad made with romaine lettuce, shaved parmesan, and herb croutons. They also serve excellent burgers, pulled pork, calamari, sandwiches and wraps. More formal dishes such as Salmon, tilapia ,mussels, filet mignon, veal chops, pasta and chicken are also available.
The bar area has been flourishing from day one and offers a huge variety of artisanal beers, as well liquors, exciting cocktails, wines and champagnes.
Rino, Louis and Eric, their remarkable new chef, have taken comfort food to a whole new level of elegance and sophistication! Congratulations to the Di Maria brothers and to Eric for making Willy Parker, a new and exciting venue in Nassau County
Willy Parker is on a fast track to success combining good food, service, and an enjoyable ambiance.
Willy Parkers American Bar and Grill, 71 Hillside Avenue, Williston Park NY 11596
tel: 516-750-8125, www.willyparkers.com