Of The Week
Pasta At Pasta Del Giorno Is Always Fresh And Delicious
As the name suggests, Pasta del Giorno, which means "pasta of the day," offers so many delectable pasta dishes, meat, chicken and fish dishes, one can order something different and delicious every night. Located on Austin Street in Forest Hills, the restaurant doesn’t require a special occasion or a lot of money to enjoy a wonderful meal. The interior emulates a Mediterranean garden, complete with ceramic tile floors and dappled walls adorned with hand-painted ceramic plates from Italy. Hanging plants and peach-colored linens complete the serene look of the airy and comfortable dining room. Owner Anthony Gauna opened Pasta del Giorno 12 years ago and his secret is fresh, high quality food and wines at very reasonable prices. The service is also quick and courteous.
Dip the crusty Tuscan bread into a saucer of fragrant, extra-virgin olive oil while you pore over the menu. A plate of freshly made bruschetta disappeared in seconds as we enjoyed a glass of robust chianti from the well-stocked bar. Antipasti run $6.50 to $9.50 and include mussels or little neck clams steamed in an aromatic broth of wine, garlic and herbs. An absolute must try is cold seafood salad, brimming with fresh, tender shrimp, calamari, scungilli, octopus and more in a zesty dressing. One of my favorite starters is carpaccio; paper thin sliced raw filet mignon, topped with shaved parmigiano, nestled atop a bed of fragrant arugula. Standards such as crispy baked clams and assorted grilled vegetables are beautifully presented and generously sized for two to share.
Pasta del Giorno boasts homemade pasta, and at about $10.50 or so for a generous helping, you can’t go wrong with any of their pasta entrées. From the thinnest cappellini, tossed with fresh vegetables and shallots to the toothsome tortellini, with rich meat sauce, there’s a pasta dish to satisfy everyone. Fettuccine al pesto is fresh ribbon pasta tossed with a purée of basil, pine nuts and pecorino romano cheese. Taglierini Toscana is thin, ribbon pasta with sautéed spinach, white beans and roasted garlic. Risotto, a heartier dish of rich Arborio rice, is prepared in a special way each day, be it with seafood, mushrooms or vegetables.
In addition to the menu items, the chef’s daily specials are worth considering. Take, for example, a hearty cream of broccoli soup to start, followed by an autumnal dish of chicken breasts sauteed with sliced apples and cognac. Every Thursday night, diners feast on the chef’s special sirloin and rack of lamb with mashed potatoes. Friday is known for cut-up lobster tail sauteed with butter and cognac, ready to be devoured.
Menu entrées feature a wide variety of fresh fish, veal, chicken and steak. Fresh fish of the day might be swordfish, sea bass or tuna, prepared in a number of delectable ways. Filet of trout with balsamic sauce, served with crispy oven-browned potatoes and fresh vegetables melted in my mouth.
My dinner companion raved about the extra thick veal chop, grilled to perfection. Veal scallopini sautéed with Barolo wine and Portobello mushrooms is a hearty and satisfying dish, as is the veal with cognac and wild mushrooms ($13.50). A roasted rack of lamb is as beautifully presented as it is delicious, cooked to the diner’s liking and served with potato and fresh vegetables. Inventive chicken dishes include breast of chicken with sun-dried tomatoes and peas or chicken in a sherry wine sauce with a touch of cream. Chicken Castello Romano is sautéed with artichoke hearts and mushrooms in a light brown sauce. Juicy, grilled steaks round out the menu, which offers something for everyone, all at reasonable prices.
Be sure to save room for dessert and cappuccino—hand-filled cannolis, chocolate mousse cake and my favorite, fresh seasonal fruit with warm zabaglione sauce.
It’s no wonder the dining room was nearly full, even on a weeknight. Gauna strongly recommends reservations on weekends to prevent a long wait. He can also help organize a private party or luncheon. Pasta del Giorno is open seven days a week, for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday and dinner only on Sunday, from 2 to 11pm. Pasta del Giorno offers a wonderful selection of reasonably priced wines from Italy, Chile and California as well as after dinner wines. The full bar can also mix favorite cocktails.
For lunch or dinner, a meal at Pasta del Giorno is pleasant and reasonably priced. The service is quick so you can be on your way if you have to, or feel free to linger over your dessert as long as you like. Visit Pasta del Giorno soon for simple, fresh pasta and much more.
Pasta Del Giorno
70-49 Austin Street
Forest Hills, NY 11375