2012-12-12 / Restaurant of the Week

The Family Restaurant

By Teresa Barile

For 38 years, The Family Restaurant has been known for fine Italian cuisine served in a warm, family setting. Co-owner Robert Webb and the effervescent Rosa greet everyone like family at this cozy, classy eatery. The Family Restaurant serves regional Italian dishes, all made to order using the finest ingredients on the market. The atmosphere is lovely, with tables dressed in crisp, white linens, soft lighting and now, with holiday decorations up, this is the perfect time to visit. In fact, there is still time to reserve your family dinner on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or New Year’s Eve. More details to follow.

Rosa offered us a frozen margarita and we found it to be refreshing and smooth, though you can choose from all your favorite cocktails, beer, and of course, wine. We sipped as the efficient waiter brought us the special appetizer of the day: carciofini Francese, which were tender artichoke hearts dipped in a light batter and sautéed with butter, lemon, and white wine. The hot antipasto platter is the perfect antidote for a hungry couple who simply can’t decide among the many tempting appetizers. This generous plate includes two each of plump shrimp scampi, baked clams, stuffed mushrooms, eggplant rollatini, and crispy, fried calamari ($14.95). A gorgeous, grilled Portobello mushroom was brought to us on a plate with steamed broccoli. Other appetizers include stuffed mushrooms, baked clams oreganata, fried zucchini sticks and cold seafood salad, all of which go well with the warm-from-the-oven house made flat bread that comes from their pizza oven near the entrance. Warm up with tortellini in brodo with its homemade stock, minestrone, pasta e fagioli or stracciatella soup to whet your appetite.

After the antipasto course, pasta is next on the menu and The Family Restaurant offers a wide variety of pastas, priced from $11.95 for generous portions. One of their very popular dishes is the orrecchiete Barese “little ears” pasta with broccoli rabe and sweet Italian sausage. I could eat this dish at least once a week. Spaghetti Bolognese is another specialty here with its secret, meaty sauce. Don’t ask how they make it so special, just enjoy it. Al dente linguine or spaghetti is served with juicy white or red clam sauce, or topped with meatballs, marinara sauce, mushroom sauce, or sausage. Penne Siciliana is served with a slightly spicy sauce with fresh eggplant, zucchini and cubes of mozzarella that melt into gooey goodness. Decadently delicious fettuccine Alfredo is perfectly executed here, as is spaghetti carbonara. Two can share a pasta as a first course, or enjoy the whole plate yourself.

Main courses at The Family Restaurant cover the finest fresh fish, chicken, veal and steak. We ordered the red snapper fillet, prepared Livornese style with olives, capers and a touch of tomato that was out of this world. Classic fillet of sole Francese is always on the menu, as well as salmon steak served broiled or Florentine style. A special of the evening was chicken Portobello, sautéed lightly with Portobello mushrooms in brandy cream sauce. If you don’t see this on the menu, just ask for it and the chef will gladly prepare it for you. Tender veal or chicken cutlets are prepared Francese style, alla Marsala with sweet wine sauce, piccata, parmigiana or rollatini, with eggplant and mozzarella. A side of pasta or salad is served with every meat or fish entrée.

The Family Restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner and is offering family dining on the upcoming holidays. Please call now to make reservations for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day where dinner is served from 11am to 10pm. On New Year’s Eve, there will be open seating and dining from the standard menu until 9:30pm. After that, the d.j. plays music and a special, prix fixe, late seating menu will be offered. Please visit their Website for more details.

What started with great pizza 38 years ago, has become everyone’s Family Restaurant. Plan your next family or business function and leave the cooking to the experts. Prices are reasonable and the service is very friendly and efficient. Children are always welcome and commuters will find the train station just outside.

For dessert, we tried slivers of their house made cassata Italian cake, rum cake, tiramisu, and fruit tart. Finish off with an espresso or after dinner cordial and plan your next visit soon.

The Family Restaurant is your home away from home for fine Italian cuisine in a comfortable, cozy place. Buon appetito!

110-80 Queens Blvd.
Forest Hills, NY  718.520.1123

www.thefamilyrestaurant.com

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