2006-09-27 / Restaurant of the Week

Sarabella Bistro and Grille Enchants with Food and Fun

by Teresa Barile

ake every day a Sarabella day," says Danny Sollenne, Congenial owner of Sarabella Bistro and Grille. And why not? Not only is Sarabella Bistro and

Sarabella Bistro and Grille 103-22 Metropolitan Avenue, Forest Hills 718.575.8999 Sarabella Bistro and Grille 103-22 Metropolitan Avenue, Forest Hills 718.575.8999 Grille one of the top restaurants

in Queens, serving terrific Italian cuisine and mouth-watering

specials, it also has a charming atmosphere,

due to the origins of the building ''m

that houses it, dating from 1929. Conveniently located on Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills, Sarabella has an ornate tin ceiling, beautiful bistro paintings and gilded mirrors on the walls and deep red tablecloths, all of which create an intimate setting in the spacious dining room. The addition of live piano music on Wednesday and Saturday evenings makes Sarabella even more special. This is a restaurant that should not be missed.

We started with some red wine and slices of cheese and salami that were brought to our table by the friendly and efficient wait staff. We were urged to try some of the appetizer specials of the evening and simply couldn't resist grilled Portobello mushrooms, stuffed with melted mozzarella cheese and balsamic vinegar. Tender eggplant rollatini was filled with fluffy ricotta and herbs. Fresh, clean mussels in either red or white wine sauce are perfect for mopping up with warm crusty bread ($10.50). Hot or cold antipasto platters are ideal for sharing with one or more dining companions. Visit on a Friday night when you can delight in Sarabella's Raw Bar, featuring shrimp cocktail and fresh clams and oysters served by the half dozen.

Entrées encompass all your favorites in house made pasta, seafood, meat and chicken. The home-style ravioli of the day was filled with sweet lobster meat and lightly dressed with a sauce of butter, red roasted peppers and baby shrimp. Linguine with plump shrimp or juicy clams are both quite popular. The specialty, osso bucco, should be ordered whenever available, due to the tenderness of the veal shank and toothsome risotto on which it rests, all in a rich sauce reduction. Veal or chicken Marsala is so tender it cuts easily with a fork, while the grilled veal chop requires a steak knife and a hearty appetite. Chicken Francese melts in your mouth. Chicken Sarabella is layered with prosciutto, mozzarella and a sliver of eggplant ($14.95).

Sollenne and his staff host a number of exciting social and entertaining events, including monthly Rotary Club meetings featuring a Cop of the Month ceremony where one of New York's Finest is appropriately honored. Besides the great food and excellent service, here is a rundown of the week's popular events: Sundays offer a jazz brunch with champagne from noon to 4 p.m., with generously sized appetizers, entrees, cocktail and coffee for about $16. Tuesday nights promise lots of fun with Karaoke for all and DJ Sally Dee spinning your favorite tunes. Wednesday is lobster night, when a one-and-a-half-pound lobster is served with three pastas and a glass of wine for $27.95, and there's live piano music to boot. Psychic Thursday nights include a reading from a renowned psychic along with a fabulous dinner for $40. Reservations are required for this sell-out event. Relax on a Friday evening with the Sounds of Sinatra from 8:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday night is meant for romantic dining with lots of the chef's specialties and live piano music. Well-known psychic Sally Baldwin has four engagements in November, and another respected psychic, Robert Hansen, will do your reading on December 4. Make your reservations now for this very special event.

The convivial bar is open nightly, except Mondays, with bartender Vicky Meyers at the helm. In lieu of a traditional Happy Hour, Sarabella hosts nightly wine tastings for your bacchanal enjoyment.

Sarabella is the ideal place for a private affair in their spacious, 4,000-square-foot dining room. They specialize in christenings, communions, showers and special birthdays and will even accommodate a funeral luncheon. Book your holiday 2006 parties for your business or organization now. The catering menu starts at just $29.95 per person and all your guests will be impressed. Valet parking is available.

Make every day a Sarabella Day at Sarabella Bistro and Grille, where there's always excellent food, service to match and a beautiful atmosphere, enhanced with music and entertainment. Open six days a week for lunch and dinner, closed Mondays.

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