2000-01-26 / Restaurant of the Week

Restaurant Of The Week

By Teresa Barile

Armondo’s—A Cozy Italian Restaurant

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his cozy Italian corner restaurant has everything a neighborhood eatery should: a convenient location, comfortable atmosphere, great food and friendly, attentive service. It is these elements that have made Armondo’s of Jackson Heights a popular place for families, friends and business people to eat for the past 27 years. On a recent evenings families with children were eating together with their parents and grandparents, adding to the homey feeling. Proprietor Jerry Crisci is nearly always on hand to meet and greet customers, most of whom he knows by name, and to insure that they’re happy with their meal. A lovely, glass–enclosed dining area that overlooks 75th Street, is warm in the winter and opens up in the summer so diners can enjoy a cool breeze.

Weeknights are an especially good time to visit, when a less frenetic pace allows for tranquil dining and personalized service. Our waiter brought some warm bruschetta, topped with melted mozzarella cheese to tingle our taste buds while we pondered the appetizer selections. Crisci helped us decide and brought us a generous plate of tender, fried calamari with zesty tomato sauce for dipping. Baked clams or clams possilipo in a garlicky sauce are also excellent choices. A caprese is a salad of fresh sliced mozzarella interlaced with slices of tomato and basil, drizzled with olive oil. This appetizer was so fresh it made me think of summer days.

Before they read all the entrees, diners should listen closely while their waiter describes all the daily specials. Fresh fish, such as filet of sole almondine sound great, while the salmon served over a bed of fresh spinach and capers seemed too good to resist. Still, other specials, including Portobello mushroom–stuffed ravioli and chicken Napoleon made the choice even harder. I opted for a big plate of rigatoni with sautéed broccoli rabe, sun–dried tomato and savory sausage and enjoyed every morsel.

Menu items cover such traditional pasta dishes as fettuccine alfredo, pesto or carbonara, linguine with clam sauce and of course, lasagna. One thing that caught my eye is Armondo’s "Lite Selections" menu, with lighter offerings such as cappellini tossed with shrimp and clams or pasta primavera with grilled chicken. Even calorie counters can be satiated at Armondo’s.

For those with heartier appetites, there are veal and peppers ($13) or a generously sized broiled veal chop. Bracciola is a thinly pounded piece of steak filled with cheese and herbs and rolled up. served with rigatoni, this dish is sure to satisfy. Seafood lovers have many options in addition to the specials mentioned. Tender, plump shrimp can be ordered any way, be it fra diavolo, oreganata, parmigiana, francese or scampi with loads of garlic. Armondo’s seafood special combines lobster tail, shrimp, sole, scallops, mussels and clams in a light sauce over pasta.

If that isn’t enough to choose from, visit this Wednesday evening for roast suckling pig or come any Saturday night for delicious osso buco. Meat and fish entrees are served with a side order of pasta or fresh vegetables, including sautéed escarole.

Save room for dessert and decide among carrot cake, tiramisu, Italian pastries and biscotti, chocolate mousse cake and more. They make a good cup of cappuccino also. Armondo’s is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. There’s a fixed price Sunday brunch also.

Visit Armondo’s any day or night. Make it your neighborhood italian restaurant, too.

Armondo’s

74–27 37th Ave.

Jackson Heights

(718) 898–0113

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