2014-03-12 / Restaurant of the Week

DEE’S

Dee’s is a wonderful place to celebrate the coming of spring. OK, I realize that it’s still freezing out and the snow hasn’t completely melted yet, but Lent is here, one of the harbingers of spring, and Dee’s has plenty of delicious dishes for those eschewing meat and for carnivores alike now and all year long. Dee’s has been in Forest Hills for 20 years, garnering rave reviews from the local clientele and those who travel from Long Island, Manhattan and beyond for the fabulous food, excellent service and hand-crafted, specialty pizzas. You’ll spot the wood-burning brick oven as you enter the restaurant which registers an astounding 825 degrees and can bake a pizza in a remarkable four minutes!

Dee’s is named for its congenial owner and Executive Chef, a graduate of the prestigious French Culinary Institute. Dee’s is beautifully decorated in a sleek, modern tableau of exposed brick, dark wood floors and soft lighting. Two additional dining rooms are nicely appointed, allowing for intimate meals for two or for groups of friends and families. The spring calendar is already filling up with parties for baby showers, graduations and anniversaries so call now to plan an exquisite, expertly catered event.

Armin, the very hospitable and knowledgeable manager, welcomed us warmly and suggested some of his personally chosen vintages that include a South African Merlot, an Argentinian Malbec, and a California Pinot Noir. He uncorked for us while we marveled at the menu with all the tempting choices of appetizers, salads, pasta dishes, meat and fish entrées, and 26 varieties of pizza. Thankfully, Armin took over and brought several of Dee’s best dishes for us and so the feast began.

From the wood-burning oven came the special pizza featured this month, light and bubbly with a light, crisp crust topped with tomato, fresh mozzarella, Monterey Jack cheese, shredded chicken and a touch of Buffalo sauce. We limited ourselves to one slice each, as we were saving room for the next dishes to come, but I could easily polish off one of their classic Margarita pies, the Dee’s Favorite with mozzarella, plum tomatoes, roasted red peppers, sweet Italian sausage crumbles, and portobello mushrooms, or the Farmer’s Market pizza topped with freshly grilled vegetables, mozzarella and plum tomato sauce ($17). These pizzas are perfectly sized for two to share as a first course for lunch, or a whole meal for one, especially when accompanied by Dee’s Salad. Tender mixed greens are tossed with crumbled bleu cheese, toasted, candied pecans, and sliced Granny Smith apples, dressed in Dee’s own special vinaigrette. Dee’s appetizers are perfect for sharing. The Mediterranean mix is a trio of hummus, eggplant caponata, and fava beans, all meant to be spread on their warm-fromthe oven focaccia. You’ve not had chicken wings like Dee’s, made with a special teriyaki glaze, sprinkled with sesame seeds. Manila clams sautéed with spicy chorizo sausage, red and green peppers and a touch of cognac are so good, especially when you soak up the heavenly broth with more focaccia. Coconut shrimp with chipotle dipping sauce, peppercorn crusted tuna sushi, and grilled artichokes Roman style are just a few more starters that will whet your appetite.

Dee’s pasta dishes are prepared to order, served piping hot, and generously sized. We enjoyed the handmade lobster ravioli as well as rigatoni with roasted eggplant, marinara sauce and a dollop of ricotta cheese ($16). Linguine with baby clams is the perfect Friday night meal. Penne with seared tuna, tomato, capers and Kalamata olives is a delicious Mediterranean treat. Twisted gemelli pasta are tossed with slices of tender skirt steak, roasted red peppers, baby bok choy and mushrooms with a touch of teriyaki for an Asian take on pasta. The kids will love penne with tomato sauce or steamed broccoli and butter, or a classic mini pizza from the children’s menu.

Choose your favorite item from the grill menu, such as the highest quality salmon, tilapia, tuna, shrimp, skirt steak, Australian lamb chops, Angus burger or turkey burger, then choose your favorite side dish to complete your meal. You’ll find garlic mashed potatoes, sautéed spinach or broccoli, a side salad, or curry scented shoestring onion rings. Our salmon was perfectly grilled with a crisp crust, moist and juicy inside, nestled on a mound of mashed potatoes, topped with those addictive shoestring onion rings. Dee’s prepares awesome burgers, such as the 10-ounce grilled Angus, cooked to order and served on a fluffy brioche bun to soak up all the juices. A newly introduced vegetarian burger is a meaty-tasting mixture of black beans, the magical grain called Quinoa, and Mediterranean spices that will please even a caveman, accompanied by crispy, hand cut, shoestring fries.

As full as we were, we couldn’t leave without a taste of Dee’s mother’s famous rice pudding made with love, and a slice of their citrusy key lime pie. Other favorites include the Bourbon pecan tart with ice cream, and a confection called caramel pecan smash with brownie chunks. I’m so happy to have discovered Dee’s on Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills. There’s easy street parking and Dee’s is a great place for dinner before or after a movie down the street. Dee’s is open six days a week for lunch and dinner (closed Mondays). For excellent pizza, pasta, meat and fish entrees, you ought to visit Dee’s and make your reservations for your family party now. Bon Appetit!

107-23 Metropolitan Avenue
Forest Hills / 718.793.7553

www.deesnyc.com

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