2010-02-03 / Restaurant of the Week

Giorgio's Pizzeria and Restaurant

t his homey pizzeria and restaurant offers fantastic pizza as well as full Italian entrées, soups, salads, steaks and more. Though Giorgio's opened just four weeks ago, there's already a line at the counter for their tender, crisp crusted pizza, rolls and heros to stay or to go. The cleverly divided dining room allows for comfortable eating in among striped fabric banquettes with leather seats, tile floors and marbletopped tables to accommodate

family, friends and co-workers. Faux finished walls and soft lighting from delicate blown glass fixtures complete the look along with draperies on the window.

Owner Jorge (Giorgio) Mujica has decades of experience in the restaurant business, cooking in some of the Bronx's best Italian restaurants. He's even made appearances on television, demonstrating his cooking skills. Together with Chef Riccardo Becerra, this duo makes delicious Italian food served in a clean and friendly environment. If it's more convenient, they will happily deliver to your home or office, free of charge.

After settling into our comfortable banquette, we had to try a slice of their pizza, hot from the oven. Indeed the crust was thin and crisp, yet firm enough to hold house made sauce and just the right amount of cheese. All your favorite toppings are available, as well as specialty white pizzas, gourmet veggie pizza with asparagus, artichokes, Portobello mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, and the square Grandma's pizza with a smattering of plum tomatoes, seasonings and fresh mozzarella.

Next, Jorge suggested we start with a generously sized hot antipasto platter, one of the house favorites thus far. This beautiful, rectangular ceramic platter held an assortment of Giorgio's best: crispy baked clams with garlicky bread crumbs, two golden shrimp scampi, stuffed mushroom caps, baked mussels, fried broccoli florets and garlic bread to soak up all the delicious juices. At $12.95, this platter offered plenty for 2 or 3 to share. Most appetizers on the menu run about $5.95 and include eggplant rollatini, filled with fluffy ricotta, tender rings of fried calamari, crunchy zucchini sticks or mozzarella sticks, and American standards such as chicken wings and chicken fingers. The soups hit the spot, and with choices that include classic pasta e fagioli, minestrone, escarole and beans and chicken soup, you can try a different one on every visit. There are ten salads to suit your tastes including Caesar, spinach, caprese with mozzarella and tomato, arugula, and seafood salad with calamari and scungilli.

The best surprise at Giorgio's is the array of professionally prepared Italian pasta, meat and fish entrées at very reasonable prices. Choose among angel hair pasta, spaghetti, ziti, penne or rigatoni and top it with your favorite sauces, such as marinara with aromatic basil, creamy carbonara with a touch of smoky bacon or rich, meaty Bolognese sauce. Linguine with white or red clam sauce , penne alla vodka, rigatoni with broccoli rabe, garlic and oil and spaghetti with meatballs are just some of the offerings that will bring a smile to your face. At around $12.95, you won't feel the pinch in your wallet either.

Eggplant Florentine was filled with creamy ricotta and fresh spinach and topped with melted cheese. Chicken or veal saltimbocca are tender, pounded cutlets layered with ham, spinach and mozzarella, sautéed in a light brown sauce. Chicken scarpariello is cooked on the bone and sautéed with slices of sausage, white wine and lemon. Shrimp is prepared as you'd like, including parmigiana style, scampi style with lots of garlic or Francese with butter, lemon and white wine. All entrées come with your choice of pasta, salad, vegetable or potato, making for an economical meal. The hot grill makes rib-eye steaks and juicy pork chops taste great. You can also order the pork chops with hot vinegar peppers or have your steak prepared alla pizzaiola, with tomatoes and onions.

Don't forget their hot hero sandwiches, for lunch or dinner, filled with grilled chicken, sausage and peppers, meatballs parmigiana or Philly cheese steak. For dessert, try creamy cheesecake, chocolate cheesecake or tiramisu. Often, they will have house made zeppolis for you to try, dusted with powdered sugar.

To dine in or to deliver to your home, you'll enjoy the food at Giorgio's Pizzeria and Restaurant. The staff is friendly and the service is fast and efficient. Buona fortuna, good luck and welcome to the neighborhood!
33-10 21st Street, LIC • 718.545-0007

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