Of The Week
Tricolori Offers Romanian, Continental Cuisine
The ethnic diversity of Queens means that the borough offers a cornucopia of cuisines, right in everyone’s back yard. The small Western Queens community of Sunnyside, bordered by Queens Boulevard and the Long Island Expressway, offers several fine examples, one of which is Tricolori. Four years ago, Nick and Speranza Niculescu, veterans of many years in the restaurant and nightclub business, opened Tricolori. Nick first started cooking in his native Romania when he was nine years old, and now offers New Yorkers a sampling of the best in Romanian cuisine, as well as Continental favorites, all in a comfortable setting.Due to Romania’s geographic location, its cuisine borrows from surrounding countries to create unique and special dishes. Pork, cabbage and hand made sausages are just some of the mainstays of Romanian cooking.
According to Niculescu, a Romanian restaurant is often judged by the quality of its soups, and Tricolori excels in this area. Ciorba de Perisoare is a hearty meatball soup that begs to be soaked up with the restaurant’s trademark hearth-baked bread. White bean and bacon soup is another excellent choice on a cold day, as is the chunky beef soup.
Tricolori has a full bar, serving favorite beers, cocktails and wines from around the world. I strongly recommend a bottle of Premiat Romanian wine, full-bodied, smooth and very inexpensive.You might also start with a delicious and beautifully presented white bean spread, flanked by tiny, grilled cabanos sausage ($5). A traditional dish of creamy polenta is topped with shredded Bulgarian feta cheese, with a dollop of sour cream ($5). Homemade Romanian meatballs are garlicky and delicious and good for sharing ($4). Eight different salads are offered, including roasted peppers and garlic or eggplant salad with red onion and tomato.Main courses include items from the Tricolori grill, featuring hand made, skinless sausage called Mititei, which are highly seasoned and grilled to perfection. A spiral sausage cooked till the skin is crispy and golden ($10) is another national favorite.Chicken breast and chicken kebabs are other excellent choices, as are grilled pork chops. Several types of fish are available, including grilled fresh water trout and flaky, white carp served in a peppery broth. Grilled shrimp kebabs make a light and tasty meal.Heartier traditional dishes include pork loin stuffed with dried plums and served with polenta and mixed vegetables for just $8. Tricolori’s stuffed peppers are some of the best I’ve ever had. Large bell peppers are stuffed with ground beef and rice, then topped with tangy tomato sauce ($7). Italian pasta dishes are on the menu as well, including spaghetti Bolognese, or the signature pasta Tricolori with linguine, shrimp and chicken ($8).
For dessert, we shared an order of cheese filled donuts drizzled with vanilla sauce. Delicate crepes are filled with raspberry and apricot preserves and go well with a steaming cup of coffee or espresso. The service is fast and efficient and the prices are very reasonable. No wonder entire families come to eat here.Tricolori is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. They serve dinner till late at night, due to the influx of late shift workers and taxi drivers from around the city who find Tricolori a good place to end their working day. On Friday and Saturday nights, a DJ entertains. Thursday night is Ladies Night, when cocktails cost just $1. In the summer, French doors swing open to offer outdoor seating on 43rd Street. Stop by any time for a drink, a bowl of soup, or a full meal and sample Romanian cuisine, as well as Continental dishes.Tricolori Restaurant
47-55 43rd Rd.Sunnyside