The Clinton Offers A Piece Of History
9-17 Clintonville St., Whitestone
HOURS: Sun., Mon. noon to 10 p.m.
Tues. – Thurs. noon to 11 p.m.
Fri., Sat. noon to midnight
CREDIT CARDS: Yes — All major
Located in a former Prohibition-era speakeasy, The Clinton restaurant in Whitestone has been serving homemade Italian cuisine since 1939.
The restaurant has the distinction of being the place where my mother first met all of my dad’s closest friends some 35 years ago. I have visited numerous times and each time I have had something different.
The Babich family, owners of The Clinton, offers a wide-ranging assortment of Italian dishes, including 17 pasta choices. During my most recent visit, my friend and I started off with two appetizers, fresh mozzarella and tomato — my favorite — and shrimp cocktail — his choice.
Mozzarella sticks are something I order almost any chance I get, and this fresh mozzarella and tomato is what I would describe as a fancier version of cheese sticks. It did not disappoint.
The shrimp cocktail, at $10.50, was well-worth it, according to my friend. I am not a big shrimp fan, so I am not up-to-speed on what a shrimp appetizer should cost, but he said this was the right price. The shrimp tasted fresh and not just something that was frozen and then re-heated, which definitely makes a huge difference in taste and even texture.
For dinner, my friend was going to choose one of the 17 pasta options, including meat tortellini, penne a la vodka or spaghetti with anchovy sauce. He ended up moving down the menu and choosing a chicken dish, chicken parmigiana. It should be noted that he used to often order a chicken parm sub at a local restaurant in college, so his choice was not surprising.
I am a huge fan of The Clinton’s pizza, and I had not eaten pizza in a while, so that was my choice. I ordered a small pizza with meatball topping, well done, with extra cheese for $13.75. And let me tell you, it was well worth the price.
The pizza came out and the crust was cooked perfectly, not too burnt but with a little black on it. The meatballs were plentiful, which is always a concern when you order pizza. Some restaurants skimp on the topping, but not The Clinton.
Both my friend and I thoroughly enjoyed our meals. It was a Friday night and the place was crowded, but the service was terrific. Our server continually stopped at our table to refill our water and ask us if we needed anything. Sometimes, no matter how good the food is, if the service is poor, the whole experience is a negative.
This experience was 100 percent positive. My friend said he would be recommending The Clinton to his friends and family, and I have continued to do the same.
The Clinton, in addition to its pasta, pizza and chicken offerings, has 17 different seafood dishes, including flounder franchese, shrimp scampi and lobster tails fra diavolo, all served with either pasta or vegetable.
If you are looking for a nice Italian restaurant and you are in Whitestone, you could do much worse than the quaint and charming Clinton.