1999-07-23 / Restaurant of the Week

Restaurant Of The Week

By Teresa Barile

From its humble beginnings as a Greek sandwich shop, Pinocchio has grown into its new home, on the corner of 32nd Street and 30th Avenue. The new Pinocchio Palace opened about two months ago to the delight of its many loyal patrons and plenty of newcomers. They come for the delicious Greek and Italian specialties, friendly service and the new, spacious, airy dining room, complete with linen-covered tables and hanging plants.

Not only has the restaurant expanded, but also the menu has grown to include tasty brick oven pizza and Italian pasta dishes, in addition to the traditional Greek sandwiches and entrees that made Pinocchio famous. Owner Nicos Gregoriou makes every effort to please his customers. This successful strategy has gotten him two other eating establishments, Athens Cafe, just across the street, and Pinocchio Trattoria in Port Washington, Long Island. At any of these locations, you’ll see his commitment to the customer.

Cold appetizers such as eggplant salad or calamari salad will tempt your tastebuds. A combination platter of dips will please everyone at your table as they scoop up a variety of homemade salads with warm pita bread. For a hot appetizer, my favorite is the grilled octopus, although the spinach pie is delicious, too.

If you like pasta, try one of their inventive dishes such as rigatoni contadina with broccoli, mushrooms and sausage ($9.50). Another great feature at Pinocchio Palace is family-sized servings of pasta that can really save you money. For example, the rigatoni dish can be ordered for six people for just $22, a real bargain for big families or large parties. Fettuccine alla Toscana tosses sun-dried tomatoes, wild mushrooms, white wine, parmesan and pecorino romano cheese with ribbon pasta for just $8.75 or $20.75 for family size.

Pinocchio has always been famous for its charcoal grill, where juicy souvlaki sandwiches are cooked to be served on pita bread, or complete platters that include Greek salad and french fries. At about $4 and $9, respectively, Pinocchio is still a great bargain. Juicy lamb chops or shell steak are available every day, and be sure to check the board for daily specials which might include savory leg of lamb, slow cooked for hours, homemade Greek mousaka, or ocean-fresh porgie or red snapper, marinated and grilled. The new Pinocchio Palace is happy to offer beer and a selection of wines from Italy, France, Portugal and Greece.

A bottle of wine would go well with a crispy, brick oven pizza. Only fresh mozzarella and tomatoes are used, and you can choose a number of your favorite toppings for a great lunch or dinner. Pair one up with a Caesar salad and you’ve got a great meal at a reasonable price.

Finish your meal with some steaming hot coffee, cappuccino or Greek coffee and a cannoli, cheesecake or baklava. Desert lovers can also meander across the street to the Athens Cafe for a wider selection of desserts.

Pinocchio Palace is open seven days a week from noon to 3 am, serving authentic Greek and Italian cuisine. The new location can accommodate large groups and private parties up to 50 people. We wish Pinocchio luck in his new palace.

Pinocchio Palace

32-02 30th Ave.

Astoria

(718) 932-4976

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