Domenico's location in a renovated home is subtle and unassuming. But the casual Italian restaurant can be easy to miss. It's on a busy stretch of East Henrietta Road, between Calkins and Lehigh Station roads in Henrietta. In a town known for an abundance of chains, neon signs and brightly lit facades, the family-owned restaurant is a warm welcome. Dom Gianvecchio started Domenico's eight years ago. He had been a partner at Fratelli's in Avon, Livingston County, and left that business in an attempt to retire. He opened another restaurant instead. Today he's turned over the operation to his children — Joe, Matt, D.J. and Lisa — but still works behind the scenes making the gnocchi daily by hand and, good news for the customers requesting it, is planning to start making his ravioli again.
Homemade bread comes with a plate of olive oil with a touch of balsamic vinegar, setting a nice tone. While dipping and munching, we ordered the stuffed escarole ($9). In our hurry to order, we misunderstood the description of "escarole tossed with seasoned breadcrumbs, kalamata olives, anchovies and Romano cheese." We imagined something akin to stuffed cabbage rolls. It was more like an escarole stuffing, with the breadcrumbs taking on a vivid green color and the other ingredients adding a salty bite. While it was an interesting taste combination on its own, we wished we had saved a bit of bread to spread it on.
Before our entrees arrived, we were treated to an updated version of the lemon ice palate refresher. Our server arrived with diminutive dishes of raspberry ice, and a bottle of vodka. If we wished (and we did), a little pour elevated the ice to aperitif status.
Palates ready, we dove headlong into our entrees. I chose the pasta carbonara ($15), an egg-based creamy and rich Romano cheese sauce dotted with sautéed bacon and flecks of black pepper, tossed over homemade fettuccine.
The first companion chose the gnocchi ($13). These are among the best we've sampled — not too fluffy, not too chewy — and the red sauce had a nice infusion of herbs.
The second companion chose veal saltimbocca ($19), medallions of veal sautéed with Greek olives, prosciutto and mushrooms in a pan-simmered sauce of Chianti served over a bed of escarole. The flavors were intense, as should be the case for a dish whose name means "to jump in the mouth." But the combination of olives and prosciutto make the saltiness a bit overwhelming, which could turn some people off.
With copious leftovers boxed, dessert was out of the question. Instead, we asked for an order of homemade cannoli to go. Enjoyed later with a cup of coffee, the shells were still crisp, and the filling was delightfully dotted with shavings of chocolate.
There is a full bar, and the wine list includes wines from New York state, Italy and California. We enjoyed a bottle of DaVinci Chianti, a very food-friendly and moderately priced selection.
Our server was polite and welcoming. Our dishes arrived promptly, and the icy intermezzo was presented with flair.
If your family or friends want to experience a happy gathering of an Italian-style supper, Domenico's offers a family-style dinner option. For $25 a person ($12 for children 6 to 10), the menu includes an appetizer, salad, sorbet, entrees, dessert and coffee. Mangia, mangia!
Address: 3024 East Henrietta Road, Henrietta
On the Web: www.domenicos-ristorante.com
Hours: Serves dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; closed Sunday.
Seating capacity: 80 to 100 among three dining rooms; 50 on the patio in season.
Diet: Will make accommodations.
Accessibility: Ramp access and accessible bathrooms.
Prices: $8 to $10 for appetizers; $13 to $25 for dinners.