Of The Week
Armondo’s Italian Restaurant Is A Home Away From Home
Recently, Jerry Crisci, the owner of Armondo’s, an Italian restaurant in Jackson Heights and one of Queens’ exemplary citizens, was commended by the City Council at the prompting of Councilmember Helen Sears. Sears noted that Crisci immigrated to these shores from his native Italy in 1956, settled in Long Island City with his family and has worked hard each and every day of his life to improve his community and build a successful business. Not only does he run a fine, home-style neighborhood Italian restaurant, he also finds time to sit on several charitable committees in order to give back to the community that he grew up in. Crisci himself is an excellent reason to visit Armondo’s—not only will you enjoy a superlative Italian meal, you’ll also meet Crisci, who’s one heck of a nice guy.
Armondo’s has been on the same corner for 30 years and is truly one of the few places to offer real home comfort in New York. This cozy Italian restaurant has everything a neighborhood eatery should: convenient location, comfortable atmosphere, great food and friendly, attentive service. Families, friends and business people come here to feel at home and enjoy consistently good food and warm attention from Crisci, who is nearly always on hand to meet and greet customers, most of whom he knows by name. A 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.
Our waiter—like all the staff here a study in exemplary politeness—brought some warm bruschetta topped with melted mozzarella cheese to munch on while we pondered the appetizer selection. Crisci, who helped us decide, brought us a generous plate of red, roasted peppers with buttery mozzarella di buffalo, which just melted in our mouths. Baked clams or clams possilipo in a garlicky sauce are excellent choices, especially accompanied by crusty bread to sop up the juices. Homemade soup of the day or a freshly tossed salad start a meal off, as does a plate of crispy, fried calamari rings with zesty sauce.
Your waiter will describe all the daily specials. When we visited, these included several varieties of fresh fish, among them filet of sole Florentine stuffed with spinach and striped bass prepared with tomatoes, capers and garlic. Both seemed too good to resist. There are nightly pasta specials too, such as saffron-infused seafood risotto, brimming with fresh seafood. Another special was Armondo’s bracciole, steak pounded thin, rolled around cheese, ham and pignoli nuts and cooked in rich tomato sauce. A generous helping of rigatoni completes this meal and will satisfy a hearty appetite.
Menu items include traditional pasta dishes such as fettuccine alfredo, pesto or carbonara, linguine with clam sauce and of course, lasagna. Gnocchi with meat sauce is fabulous. Veal or chicken can be prepared a number of ways, such as francese, cacciatore style with tomatoes and onions or sorrentino style, with eggplant and cheese. Autumn is a great time to try the veal and peppers ($14) or a generously sized broiled veal chop.
Seafood lovers have many options in addition to the specials mentioned. Order tender, plump shrimp any way you like: 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 those aren’t enough choices, each Wednesday features a special dish. The first Wednesday of every month is Irish night, featuring corned beef and cabbage. On the second Wednesday juicy lamb chops are offered, while the third Wednesday has a festival of paella. On the fourth Wednesday, a feast of roast suckling pig with all the trimmings, including Armondo’s famous potato croquettes and sautéed vegetables, is the featured item.
Save room for dessert where you’ll decide among carrot cake, homemade tiramisu, Italian pastries and biscotti, chocolate mousse cake and more. Armondo’s make a good cup of cappuccino, also. They’re open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, with lunch specials offered each day. A great Sunday brunch is offered at a fixed price.
Visit Armondo’s and make it your neighborhood Italian restaurant too.
74-27 37th Ave.