2010-05-26 / Restaurant of the Week

Bartolino’s Ristorante Italiano

Bartolino’s is Astoria’s premier Italian restaurant and caterer, having hosted hundreds of birthday parties, christenings, showers, engagement parties, small weddings and all life’s special moments. Now, Bartolino’s is proud to host an extra special evening with vocalist and entertainer, “Tony B” who

sings selections from the Great American Songbook for all to enjoy. On Friday, June 11th, Tony B performs, featuring tributes to the music of Frank Sinatra, Astoria native Tony Bennett, Bobby Darin and more. A special four-course meal will be served at 7pm, with the show starting at 9pm. $60 includes the sumptuous dinner and the show, so reserve now to ensure your place.

Bartolino’s has been serving delicious Italian cuisine for over 21 years with a combination of excellent food, wine and service, all served in a beautiful dining room. Owner Bobby Puccio and his professional staff make every patron feel very welcome as evidenced by the “regulars” who fill the dining room each night. Bartolino’s is open on Monday nights, when most other Italian restaurants are closed, so start your week off right. We started with ruby red glasses of Montepulciano, and there are dozens of other wines from Italy, California, Chile and

Argentina. With so many tantalizing appetizers on the menu, it can be difficult to decide, so I suggest ordering a couple of them and sharing. Some of my favorites are the house’s stuffed Portobello mushroom, with melted Fontina cheese and herbs, fresh mussels Luciano, prepared in a white wine and garlic sauce, or baked clams oreganata, with bread crumbs and a buttery sauce ($9). The stuffed mushrooms are filled with seasoned breadcrumbs and lots of garlic butter and the eggplant rollatini is filled with fluffy ricotta. Share a platter of tender, crisp fried calamari or try one of the special appetizers of the evening.

Bartolino’s pastas should not be missed and two people may share an order as a first course, or dine on

one of these dishes as an entrée. Penne with broccoli rabe and sausage remains one of my favorites and the chef does a fine job of it. Porcini-filled ravioli are handmade pillows of fresh pasta filled with savory porcini mushrooms, topped with light tomato sauce. Linguini with white or red clam sauce is another popular choice, and handmade, tender gnocchi are prepared with meaty Bolognese sauce or fragrant pesto sauce, scented with pine nuts. The pasta special was a twist on lasagna, made with pappardelle instead of traditional lasagna noodles.

My dining companion and I shared a delicious entrée of fillet of red snapper limonata. This fresh, flaky fish was flavorful and perfectly cooked with a delicate sauce of lemon, white wine, olive oil and garlic ($21). The accompanying potato croquettes are out of this world and the vegetables are always fresh and gently sautéed with garlic and oil. Fillet of salmon Asa Ciento is moist and tender, served over a bed of spinach in a creamy garlic sauce ($21). Tender, plump shrimp or fresh mussels are prepared fra diavolo style, in a spicy sauce laid on top of al dente linguine. Ask your waiter about the fresh fish of the evening.

The expert chef prepares fork-tender chicken or veal cutlets in a number of ways, including Francese, Marsala, parmigiana and Saltimbocca with prosciutto, mozzarella and spinach. Chicken vagostella remains a popular dish, topped with prosciutto and mozzarella in a mushroom wine sauce. You’ll even find broiled veal chops and juicy shell steaks all cooked to order.

Save room for dessert where you’ll choose among their special recipe Italian cheesecake, apple struedel, amaretto cake or créme brulee. The house tiramisu is fluffy and light with a rich coffee flavor. Pair it with a cup of espresso or cappuccino and perhaps an after dinner cordial or dessert wine and you’ll be on cloud nine.

This Sunday is the Broadway Street Festival, a perfect time to stop in and sample the delicious cuisine at Bartolino’s Ristorante Italiano. While you’re there, pick up a catering menu and plan your next event that will wow your guests Bartolino’s is closed on Tuesday, and open from 3pm to 11:30pm the rest of the week, and from 12:00pm on Saturdays and Sundays for your dining pleasure. Don’t forget to call now and reserve a table on June 11th for an evening of great music and food when Tony B performs at Bartolino’s. Salute!

Bartolino’s Ristorante Italiano

34-15 Broadway • Astoria • 718.728.0430

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