2003-06-18 / Restaurant of the Week

Original Rosa’s Offers Pizza, Homemade Entrées,Sandwiches

Original Rosa’s Offers Pizza, Homemade Entrées,Sandwiches

The entrées and pasta dishes on the menu are as good as many found in fancy Italian restaurants, at a fraction of the price, and all entrées are cooked to order.The entrées and pasta dishes on the menu are as good as many found in fancy Italian restaurants, at a fraction of the price, and all entrées are cooked to order.

If you don’t feel like cooking, but still want a home-cooked meal, then a visit to Original Rosa’s Pizza in the Jackson Heights Shopping Center is in order. Owner Rosario Panepinto, is constantly looking for ways to improve service to his loyal customers. Come and enjoy a slice of freshly baked pizza, an overstuffed hot sandwich or an Italian meal, complete with a bottle of wine or beer.

The entrées and pasta dishes on the menu are as good as many found in fancy Italian restaurants, at a fraction of the price, and all entrées are cooked to order. Meat and chicken entrées are served with choice of spaghetti, ziti or house salad, tossed fresh greens, radicchio, tomato, olives and shredded carrots in a zesty balsamic dressing. Start with a generously sized antipasto platter featuring buttery soft fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, thin slices of salami and provolone and lots of lettuce, tomato and olives. You can also nibble on Buffalo chicken wings, chicken fingers (the kids love them) or tender mozzarella sticks. There’s plenty to share. Save room for veal sorrentino, tender cutlets of veal layered with thinly sliced eggplant and mozzarella in a golden sauce ($11.95). Chicken rustico, a spicy, peasant dish combining boneless chicken breast with slices of sausage, mushrooms and hot pepperocini peppers in a tangy sauce. A huge portion costs only $10.95 and will satisfy even the biggest appetite. A new addition to the menu is chicken alla Rosa, two crisp, breaded chicken cutlets underneath a mound of chopped tomato and red onion in balsamic dressing. A bottle of red wine from Sicily is the perfect accompaniment. The chicken Francese, three supremely tender chicken cutlets sautéed in a creamy lemony sauce on a bed of linguine ($10.95) rivals that of some fancy Italian restaurants.

Panepinto’s secret is freshness and customer satisfaction is his reward. He insists on preparing his pizza dough and sauce fresh each day. The freshly baked pizza is tops in my book for its crisp and tender crust and delicious toppings. My personal favorite is the bruschetta pizza, made to order with fresh arugula and tomato atop the light and crispy crust. There are also stuffed pizzas, vegetarian pizzas with eggplant and cheese, and meat lover’s pizzas loaded with sausage, pepperoni and ham.

If you crave something light, try the grilled chicken Caesar salad which is ample enough for a meal in itself. The house dressing is tangy and delicious. The new foccaccia sandwich is light, crispy foccaccia bread filled with fresh eggplant, mozzarella and tomato or thinly sliced ham or turkey. The chef’s homemade rice balls make a great lunch or side dish.

Pasta dishes are another specialty, featuring a choice of spaghetti, linguini, ziti fettuccine or rigatoni with any one of 14 sauces, all at an amazing $8.95. Their most popular sauce is the vodka sauce, famous for its tangy, creamy texture and flavor. The red clam sauce is also popular, full of juicy chopped clams in a zesty tomato sauce. Try the puttanesca sauce with capers and olives over spaghetti, or creamy carbonara sauce. My favorite is rigatoni with broccoli, garlic and oil. Light and healthy, the oversized bowl of pasta could feed an army. The homemade lasagna will satisfy even the biggest appetite, with its many layers of cheese, pasta and meat. The baked manicotti is as good as my grandmother’s. Ordered to stay or to go, the pasta dishes are cooked fresh to order, and taste just great. All pasta dishes are served with a crunchy house salad and a basket of Italian bread.

Overstuffed Italian hot heroes make for a satisfying lunch or dinner with choices such as chicken parmigiana, veal cutlet, meatballs or potatoes, onions and eggs, an old favorite with my family. Tasty grilled chicken heroes pair up nicely with a side salad. When these dishes are ordered as a plate, they’re served with bread. A bowl of the homemade soup of the day makes a great accompaniment to one of Rosa’s heroes. Finish the meal with a cup of espresso or cappuccino for a lot less than you’d pay at a fancy coffee house.

You don’t have to get dressed up to eat at Original Rosa’s. In fact, you don’t even have to leave your house at all. Any item on their menu, from pizza to veal parmigiana, can be ordered for take out with free delivery to most surrounding neighborhoods. An oven in their truck will keep your food warm en route to your home or office. Panepinto will happily cater any affair, with choice of favorite hot entrées and cold antipasto platters. What child wouldn’t love a pizza party for his or her birthday?

Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, until 10 p.m., any time is a good time to stop in or call Original Rosa’s Pizza for great pasta, entrées, heroes and, of course, pizza at great prices, with free delivery. Personalized catering is available.

Original Rosa’s Pizza

75-63 31st Ave.

Jackson Heights


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