SABATINO'S RESTAURANT AND PIZZERIA
B esides all the wonderful, home style Italian cuisine at Sabatino's, this restaurant and pizzeria
of love by way of good food and wine made with family recipes brought from Salerno, in southern Italy. Owners Lisa and Sabatino Portanova and cousins Sabato, Rosanna and Emilio welcome you to enjoy freshly prepared, home style pasta, pizza, antipasti, meat, seafood and more in this clean, contemporary restaurant on Union Turnpike, just across from St. John's University.
The spacious interior at Sabatino's features sleek, dark wood tables, teal green veneer and contemporary lighting that gives off a soft glow. A fully stocked bar provides your favorite cocktail or beer, but the star of the show is the selection of fine wines from the family's own vineyard. Nephew Joe PiPia operates "Vineyard 48" on the North Shore of Long Island and Sabatino's patrons are lucky enough to select among crisp, clean chardonnays to robust merlot and merlot-cabernet franc, my personal favorite. Lisa graciously served us samples of each to try with each delectable course.
Antipasti include fresh buffalo mozzarella that melts on your tongue, along with fresh cuts of imported salami, prosciutto, roasted peppers and juicy olives. Baked clams oreganata come six to a serving and are still bubbling with crispy bread crumbs and garlic. You'll want to soak up all their delicious juices with crusty bread. Mozzarella in carrozza is sliced mozzarella and bread, fried to golden crisp and served with zesty marinara sauce ($7). Sabatino's fried calamari are incredibly crisp and tender and are perfect for sharing. Two can share a generous salad here, with several excellent choices. One of the most popular is the "monte bianco", a toss of fresh arugula, sliced avocado, sun-dried tomatoes and a dollop of creamy goat cheese ($9). Also popular is the organic baby green salad mixed with crumbled gorgonzola, caramelized walnuts and croutons ($8). Grilled chicken or shrimp may be added to any salad for a nominal charge, making them a complete meal.
Pasta is considered a first course or "primo" in Italy and Sabatino's offers nearly two dozen pasta dishes to choose among. Handmade fusilli was the featured special pasta of the evening, tossed with grilled chicken, fresh zucchini and mushrooms in a light, creamy sauce with a touch of parmigiano. Sabatino's steady clientele returns again and again for Aunt Marcella's famous meat balls. Whether you order them as a first course by themselves, or piled onto a mound of al dente spaghetti pomodoro, these meatballs are tender inside and have a delicate crust from a quick frying in olive oil. They are a signature dish and you ought to try them. Hand made gnocchi are light and fluffy from a dough made with potato flour and ricotta, then topped with a pink tomato sauce and mozzarella ($12). Tagliatelle are ribbon pasta stirred with fragrant pesto, sweet peas, fava beans and asparagus for a light and healthy dish.
"Secondi" or meat entrées feature veal, chicken, steak and fresh fish. Sabatino's chicken scarpariello is lightly sautéed with sausage, sweet peppers and white wine sauce and the generous portion will satisfy any appetite ($17). A massive veal chop is cooked to order and served with sliced mushrooms that have been sautéed in the family's wine for a real treat. Creamy mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables are a great accompaniment for this abundant dish. Classic veal Milanese is a tender, pounded veal cutlet that is dipped in bread crumbs and fried till golden. The topping of freshly chopped tomatoes and basil makes this the perfect summer time meal. Shrimp scampi is a house favorite, featuring plump, tender shrimp in a sumptuous butter, lemon and white wine sauce, just perfect for serving atop spaghetti or linguine. Fillet of sole can be simply broiled or prepared Francese style, with a light flour coating, butter and lemon.
Sabatino's has a pleasant outdoor patio which seats 45 people for lovely al fresco dining this time of year. Private parties for up to 100 can be arranged as well, with customized menus for your individual tastes. Let Sabatino's handle your next private affair and your guests will be very impressed by the fine food, wine and service, delivered by the friendly, efficient staff.
Don't forget dessert where Sabatino's own tiramisu will bring a smile to your lips, accompanied by wonderful espresso, cappuccino or coffee. The cheesecake, chocolate cake and cannolis are excellent too.
For lunch, or anytime, try their fabulous pizza to stay or to go, topped with all your favorite meats and vegetables. I love the grandma's pizza, made in a square shape and topped with hand crushed tomatoes, basil and garlic for a home style Italian treat. Free delivery allows you to enjoy these delicious dishes at your home or office.
Visit Sabatino's soon so you can take advantage of the airy outdoor patio and enjoy excellent southern Italian food and wonderful wines from the family's vineyard.