2014-06-25 / Restaurant of the Week

Bartolino’s Ristorante Italiano

Bartolino's Ristorante Italiano has been a fixture on Broadway in Astoria for 27 years and now their presence is even grander with the adjoining “Tippin Inn” Bar and the brand new “Bartolino's Fine Italian Pizza”, all in a row.

There's truly something for everyone on this strip of Broadway, starting with the newest addition, Bartolino's Fine Italian Pizza, which opened just three months ago. This casual pizzeria and cafe offers piping hot pizzas, paninis, flat bread pizza and crispy salads to dine in at tidy tables, or to go, with pick up and free delivery. Peggy is the effervescent manager who greets everyone like family and the service is friendly and efficient. The brick oven produces light, crispy crust, and beautiful, bubby pies all made with the freshest ingredients, using homemade dough and sauce. They come in individual 10” size or the 18” which is ideal for two to share. Our quattro stagioni pizza was visually tantalizing with its ingredients that represent the four sesons: artichokes, prosciutto, olives, and mushrooms. The flavors combined with fresh mozzarella and perfect seasonings for an irresistible pie. The pizza alla Norcina is topped with tomato, fresh mozzarella, mushrooms, and spicy sausage that makes a whole meal, especially when you order one of their fabulous salads with it. Choose among the tri-colore, arugula, or asparagus salad all great to pairing with a pizza or panino. The Bartolino salad is my favorite, tossed with arugula, orange slices, almonds and shaved Parmigiana. For dessert try a couple of scoops of gelato or a Nutella piadina baked on flat bread.

Just next door you'll find the “Tippin Inn” a favorite watering hole for Astorians who want to relax at Happy Hour after work, watch the game on TV, and meet with friends over fine drinks and excellent bar food. Snack on Buffalo wings, handmade French fries or share a chicken or steak quesadilla. Hearty grilled sandwiches such as the grilled chicken or Philly cheesesteak make a great lunch, dinner, or nighttime snack. You can even get complete platters like steak teriyaki, barbecued shrimp and more. Everything here is fresh, not processed and you can order for delivery easily from their Web site. Some nights feature live music or comedy so check for details.

Moving next door, you’ll find the venerable Bartolino’s Ristorante Italiano, one of my favorites. In fact, I recently had a birthday celebration here with a group of friends that they’re still talking about. They loved the food, the ambience of this elegant, yet comfortable dining room, and best of all, the service delivered by Monte and Carlos. They specialize in catering for large groups and can even accommodate weddings so call to create a customized menu for your next event.

While everything on the menu is consistently delicious, you’ll be lured by the tempting nightly specials that might include oysters Cassino broiled with smoky pancetta, or potato leek soup. The asparagus salad was composed of arugula, white cannellini beans, and endive in a bright lemon dressing. The fish special of the night was fillet of branzino sautéed with shrimp, arugula and served with broccoli, while the hefty veal chop Valdostana was layered with prosciutto and cheese, sautéed with mushrooms and wine.

Start with a cocktail or a nice bottle of wine from the reasonably priced variety. Appetizers from the menu include mussels Luciano steamed in white wine and garlic sauce perfect for soaking up with the warm bread and house made breadsticks. Eggplant rollatini that’s fresh and light with fluffy ricotta, and crispy rings of fried calamari. Order the hot antipasto platter and share baked clams, eggplant rollatini, stuffed mushrooms, shrimp and roasted peppers with your companions ($12.95). Cold appetizers include clams on the half shell, Caprese salad with buttery mozzarella and an assorted cold antipasto platter with cuts of cured meats and cheeses to share.

All of Bartolino’s entrees are made on the spot for optimum freshness and flavor. Spaghetti or gnocchi Bolognese has a rich and meaty sauce while the penne with broccoli rabe and spicy sausage is full of flavor, color and texture. The homemade lasagna and manicotti are popular family treats and the evening’s whole wheat pasta special was made with shrimp, broccoli, white wine, garlic and fresh herbs.

Only the freshest fish and seafood is served at Bartolino’s with kudos to my fillet of branzino topped scallops, shrimp and a fragrant arugula salad. My friend’s linguine with sautéed shrimp smelled so good, I had to sneak a forkful. Tender chicken is prepared as you like it in either Marsala wine sauce, Francese style, scarpariello style or layered with prosciutto, mozzarella and mushroom wine sauce in their chicken Vagostella. Tender scaloppine of veal is served in similar fashion or you can dive into hefty pork chops or a New York strip steak, all cooked to order. The accompanying potato croquettes or pasta and vegetables make for a well-rounded meal.

The array of desserts is impressive, with flaky apple strudel topped with vanilla ice cream, banana cheesecake, frozen chocolate truffle, and fruit sorbetto served in the fruit itself. Steaming coffee, cappuccino, espresso and after dinner cordials make great accompaniments to end the perfect meal.

Bobby Puccio is the amiable and popular owner behind all three establishments and his attention to quality and detail is to be commended. Visit one, two, or all of these fine establishments for unique dining experiences. Bartolino’s Ristorante Italiano is closed on Tuesdays, but the Tippin Inn and Bartolino’s Fine Italian Pizza are open seven days and offer delivery and on-line ordering. Bon appetito!

34-15 Broadway  Astoria
718.728.0430
www.bartolinosastoria.com
www.tippininn.com  www.seamless.com
www.grubhub.com

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