Of The WeekIt
Of The Week
It’s Phillies For Just Great Food
What better place to bring your family, than a restaurant, run by a family? Phillies is one such place. Brothers Phil and Tom Capezza opened Phillies nearly three years ago and a faithful clientele has grown since then, thanks to the friendly, family type atmosphere, and chef, Phil junior, who creates traditional and updated Italian favorites. Phillies is located on the quiet end of Ditmars Boulevard, just a half-block up from Astoria Park. After a big, delicious meal, you can take a stroll in the park on a warm summer evening. Their outdoor garden, with eight tables, will be a dream in the warm weather ahead.
Enjoy a glass of wine or cocktail from the bar while you mull over the delectable choices on the menu. Start with some of their delicious appetizers such as whole baked clams, plump shrimp cocktail or crisp fried calamari rings. Fresh cockles are tiny clams, cooked with garlic and white wine that you’ll find addictive. Chef Phil makes a fabulous little goat cheese pie, layered with pesto and topped with chopped tomato. Spread this wonderful cheese mixture onto the toasted Italian bread that accompanies this appetizer, and you’ll be in heaven ($6.95).
The Capezza family grew up in Astoria and continues to support the neighborhood by purchasing all their fresh fish, meat and vegetables daily from local markets. This keeps prices down and ingredients at their peak of freshness. We started with a mammoth-sized portion of fussilli di Napoli; a wonderful pasta dish that tosses pasta twists with huge, plump shrimp and fresh broccoli rabe. At $13.95, this satisfying dish made an excellent lunch the next day as well. Other pasta dishes include farfalle, or bow-tie pasta with a fragrant pesto sauce that can be ordered with chicken or shrimp. Lunch-sized portions are available as well, at prices that are lower than dinner entrées.
Fresh fish and seafood is offered, including generously portioned shrimp fra diavolo with a piquant sauce served over a mound of linguine ($14.95). Mussels posillippo are cooked with chopped tomato, basil and garlic and served over pasta. Sole almondine is pan fried and topped with toasted almonds and green onion. Phil’s favorite is the grilled salmon with cucumber dill sauce.
Next, we sampled the chef’s pork chops Italiano, thick, pan-fried pork chops smothered in hot cherry peppers and potatoes. We soaked up the tangy juices with the crusty, warm loaf of round Italian bread brought to our table. The chops were even better than my grandmother’s version and a bargain at $14.95. Phillies juicy shell steak is cooked to order and served with salad and pasta.
Lemon–pepper chicken over linguine and covered in a light alfredo sauce is a delicious flavor combination ($13.95). Chicken or veal marsala with mushrooms is another popular choice for its tenderness and flavor. If there’s something else you’d like, just ask Chef Phil, and he’ll be happy to make something special for you. He also makes great cheesecake and cannoli for dessert, so have a piece and enjoy a cup of espresso, too. The service is always pleasant in this family–style eatery, so come with friends and family and come often.
Phillies is open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner. They are closed Sundays and Mondays, except for private affairs. Call Phil to make arrangements. Come to Phillies, just a half block up from Astoria Park, on Ditmars Boulevard. Soon, the outdoor garden will be open for pleasant, al fresco dining.
19-19 Ditmars Blvd.