2002-07-17 / Restaurant of the Week


Of The WeekCasanova Serves Homestyle Italian Dishes And Great Pizza
By Teresa Barile

Of The Week
Casanova Serves Homestyle Italian Dishes And Great Pizza

For anyone who craves good, old-fashioned, southern Italian cooking, served in big portions at a reasonable price, a visit to Casanova Family Restaurant is a must. Located in Greenpoint, just over the Pulaski Bridge from Long Island City, Casanova has been a family owned and operated restaurant since 1983 when Luca DiPaolo and Jerry Romano started a humble pizzeria in a largely industrial neighborhood. The pizza is still fantastic, and today a whole array of fish, seafood, meat and pasta dishes can satisfy everyone's taste.

The front of this corner restaurant houses the pizzeria, where pies come out of the oven at blinding speed. Lunch is the busiest time of day, when literally hundreds of hungry business people and construction workers alike crowd in to view the day's offerings on the steam tables as well as the pizzas. Staples such as baked ziti, stuffed shells, broccoli rabe and sausage, chicken parmigiana and veal stew will satisfy even the largest of appetites. Special dishes of the day can include salmon oreganata, shrimp with arugula, escarole and beans and much more. Hot and cold heroes are quickly made to stay or to go.

One dish found every day at Casanova is their famous frutti di mare. Don't miss their signature cold seafood salad, which combines the freshest calamari, scungilli, baby shrimp, clams and mussels in a delicious dressing and is not to be missed. In fact, Casanova serves tender calamari in so many delicious ways that they purchase 300 pounds of fresh calamari each week. So try it fried and crispy with zesty marinara sauce, or in a spicy fra diavolo sauce over linguine.

Behind the pizzeria lies a quiet, formal dining room for more sedate dining at lunch or dinner seven days and nights a week. Enjoy a bottle of wine while sharing a platter of hot antipasto, clams oreganata or the frutti di mare. A steaming bowl of homemade soup could make a meal in itself, especially the hearty pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans). Insalata della casa, presented in a big bowl, has tossed mesclun greens with grilled Portobello, eggplant, provolone and roasted peppers with choice of dressing. Warm, crusty bread soaks up the heavenly juices from vongole oreganata--tender, sweet clams swimming in delicious broth. The cold antipasto platter features cuts of delicious salami, sorpresata, cappicola, mozzarella and roasted peppers for just $6.95.

Next, diners can choose from a large array of pasta dishes, meat, poultry, and fish entrees. With Luca's help, I decided on a house specialty called broccoli alla romana. A huge portion of penne is tossed with either broccoli or broccoli rabe, jumbo shrimp and tender chunks of chicken ($11.95). Spaghetti carbonara, made with prosciutto, onion and egg, took me back to my favorite spot in Rome. A popular dish is farfalle alla salmone, bow-tie pasta with fresh salmon in a light pink sauce ($9.50). Of course, traditional filled pasta such as manicotti and shells stuffed with fluffy ricotta and fresh parsley and will remind you of Sunday dinners with grandma--if she was Italian and a culinary artist to boot.

Plenty of fresh seafood, including clams, shrimp, mussels, salmon and more is available daily. A spicy tomato sauce, lemon butter sauce or oreganata style, will delight your taste buds.

Chicken rollatini laced with spinach, ricotta and topped with a brown sauce is another satisfying choice. For a lighter dish, try the chicken cappriciosa, grilled chicken breast topped with a healthful salad of dressed arugula and tomato. Fork-tender veal or chicken can be prepared a la marsala, with sweet marsala wine and mushrooms, or sautéed a la francese, with a light lemon and butter sauce ($12.95).

All entrees are served with spaghetti, ziti or salad and there's even a children's menu. Since all entrees are prepared to order, patience is rewarded with fresh, hot food served by the friendly wait staff. Casanova can accommodate private parties of up to 50 people in the dining room or parties can be catered off-premises at home, hall or office.

For a complete lunch, dinner, or just a great slice of pizza, seven days and nights a week, visit Casanova Family Restaurant on McGuinness Boulevard in Greenpoint, easily accessible from the Pulaski Bridge or the BQE. There's plenty of free parking and credit cards are accepted.


338 McGuinness Blvd.

(corner of Green Street)



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