2011-05-11 / Restaurant of the Week

Bartolino’s Ristorante Italiano

Bartolino's is your neighborhood Italian restaurant serving consistently delicious dishes from all regions of Italy in a comfortable, beautifully appointed dining room. The congenial owner Bobby Puccio is always there to greet guests and ensure an excellent meal. Bartolino's has a wellearned reputation for expert catering in the lovely dining room, which resembles an Italian villa with cream-colored walls, alabaster columns and cool tile floors. There's even an outdoor patio and at least five different party packages are available for your special occasion for up to 200 guests, with parking available.

We enjoyed glasses of ruby red wine while considering the appetizers. The evening's specials included delicious clams Casino, broiled with crispy bacon. Next, our welldressed, professional waiter presented us with a perfectly grilled Portobello mushroom filled with fresh mozzarella and spinach that oozed when gently sautéed. The topping of ricotta and roasted red peppers made for a lovely presentation and we devoured every morsel and soaked up the juices with crusty bread. A specially tossed salad with arugula, mozzarella, roasted peppers and tomato with crispy bits of bacon made for a wonderful composition of flavors.

Bartolino's pasta dishes are prepared to order and served in generous portions. Pasta can be ordered as a main course, or shared as a first course, as we did. The pasta special that night was cappellini pasta tossed with jumbo shrimp, scallops, spinach, white wine and garlic for a truly delicious dish that was bursting with flavor. Classic pasta dishes include creamy, fettuccine Alfredo, spaghetti Bolognese with rich, meaty sauce or the Roman classic, spaghetti carbonara with smoky pancetta, finely chopped onions and a touch of cream. One of my favorites is penne with broccoli rabe and sausage. Toothsome risotto is prepared with shrimp, clams and mussels in light tomato sauce. Everyone will like the home-style lasagna, baked ziti and manicotti too. My dining companion dove into the special Steak Pizzaiolo, cooked to perfection and topped with sautéed peppers and mushrooms in a light tomato sauce. Menu entrees include tender veal or chicken cutlets prepared in several styles including Francese, Marsala, parmigiana, Milanese or Florentine, with prosciutto and provolone. Chicken vagostella is a house favorite thanks to the fork-tender chicken cutlets topped with prosciutto and mozzarella and a mushroom wine sauce. Veal saltimbocca is a classic Italian dish, topped with spinach and cheese. Chicken scarpariello is prepared on the bone and is so tender that the meat falls right off the bone.

There are plenty of fresh fish and seafood dishes to choose among, such as broiled fillet of sole oreganata or francese style, dipped in egg and gently sautéed with lemon and white wine. The tilapia special of the night was prepared with shrimp and capers, served with the chef's potato croquettes.

For dessert, we shared a generous wedge of Italian ricotta cheesecake. Desserts imported from Italy include decadent chocolate creations, tiramisu and fruit sorbet, served in a fruit shell. An espresso, cappuccino or afterdinner liqueur tops off a wonderful meal.

Tis the season for parties, and it's not too late to reserve your graduation, communion, engagement, anniversary or wedding party here at Bartolino's. Visit Bartolino's Web site (www.bartolinosastoria.com) and view the five different party packages available to meet every budget.

I'd also like to mention Puccio's friendly lounge just next door, called Tippin Inn which offers fine cocktails and food. The Happy Hour has special low prices to invite Astorians in for a drink after work. The food is fantastic and never fried! A special convection oven makes crispy, gooey quesadillas, chicken wings and open faced sandwiches without the added oil and fat. The burgers can't be beat and the crowd is friendly.

Bartolino's makes any night special with excellent food, wine, ambience and expert service. Bartolino's is closed on Tuesdays, but open for dinner from 3-11pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and from 12-11pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Free delivery is available or just pick up your fine Italian meal on your way home from work.

Ristorante Italiano
34-15 Broadway  Astoria


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