2015-03-25 / Restaurant of the Week

Armondo’s Italian Restaurant

L L Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Armondo’s Italian Restaurant has re-opened just a couple of streets away from its original location in Jackson Heights. If you’re a local, you will remember the Gazette’s cover story depicting the devastating fire that destroyed Armondo’s nearly one year ago, along with several businesses above it. While the building may have been destroyed, the spirit of Jerry

Crisci, the tour-de-force behind Armondo’s, is indestructible. I am overjoyed to report that Armondo’s re-opened quietly in February to the absolute delight of his loyal fans and friends, and those of “Trieste,” the restaurant that previously occupied this convenient spot on Northern Blvd.

The fresh, new Armondo’s opens onto a lovely, welcoming bar outfitted with sumptuous leather stools on which to relax and enjoy your favorite cocktail or wine as you admire the shiny, white Vespa motorino suspended over the bar. The elegant dining room was designed by Jerry’s beautiful wife, Patricia, and features creamy white walls, shiny, espresso-stained wood floors, and two huge mirrors that were salvaged from the original location. The overall feeling is classy yet comfortable, and very welcoming. The best part of the dining room, however, is the sound of customers joyously exclaiming, “Jerry, you’re back!” Indeed for many, Armondo’s is home, and the outpouring of love and support after the fire and now, is astounding. Unbelievably, 90% of the original staff came back home too!

Teresa Barile with Owner Jerry Crisci Teresa Barile with Owner Jerry Crisci To go along with the light, fresh ambiance, the menu has been pared down to their best dishes and nightly specials to tantalize you. Whether it’s the special appetizers such as creamy buratta cheese with arugula, asparagus, red onion, and cherry tomatoes, the briny fresh Blue Point oysters, or mussels Luciano, or your favorite menu items, Armondo’s has something for everyone. Don’t worry, if you don’t see your old favorite, the chef at Armondo’s will make it for you.

Start with a roasted beet salad topped with creamy goat cheese, orange slices, and walnuts in a bright, lemon vinaigrette or the savory arugula with tender cannellini beans drizzled with rosemary olive oil. They’ve added a new, healthy kale salad with sliced apples, shaved Pecorino, pomegranate seeds and lemon oil that tastes so fresh and lively. Classic Caprese salad with buttery mozzarella, tomato and basil is a harbinger of warmer days ahead. Homemade pasta fagioli or minestrone soup will warm you up on these still chilly nights. The hot appetizers include their famous antipasto for two with baked clams, baked shrimp, stuffed mushrooms, eggplant, and stuffed peppers, all meant for sharing and enjoying. Grilled octopus is tender and fresh with a nice taste from the char grill. I can’t get enough of the baked clams oreganata with its savory, garlicky sauce that requires crusty bread for soaking up ($12).

Pasta at Armondo’s can be ordered as a first course or an entrée on its own. With choices that include home made lasagna, spaghetti with clam sauce, Nonna’s gnocchi Bolognese, and tender ravioli filled with cheese or meat, you’re sure to find your favorite. The evening’s special pasta may include stuffed shells filled with fluffy ricotta topped with zesty marinara sauce, or seafood fra diavolo featuring a mélange of fresh clams, shrimp, calamari and mussels in a spicy tomato sauce over a mound of linguine. Toothsome risotto is pearly and creamy, made with mushrooms, vegetables, or seafood and herbs.

Entrées include Armondo’s famous chicken veal Francese, which is fork-tender and delicious, served with their famous potato croquettes or pasta, and fresh vegetable. Classic eggplant parmigiana simply had to stay on the menu, but you might want to try one of the specials such as buttery tender filet mignon with savory mushroom sauce, which my companion devoured. Veal chops and pork chops grace the menu each night, all cooked to order. Of course Armondo’s has great fish and seafood, with kudos for the fillet of sole francese, broiled salmon, or sautéed scallops. Treat yourself to lobster tails that are broiled with lemon and butter.

Every night is a treat at Armondo’s and you’ll want to at least share a dessert like their homemade tiramisu, cannolis filled on the spot, lobster tail pastry, Italian cheese cake, chocolate mousse or some biscotti dipped in an after dinner wine or a cup of steaming espresso. Whatever you choose, you will have a memorable meal at Armondo’s for sure.

Armondo’s is open for dinner only on weekdays (closed Tuesdays) from 3pm to 11pm and lunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday from 1pm to 11pm. Armondo’s now offers free delivery to the surrounding neighborhood so call in your order for a hot, delicious Italian meal delivered to your door.

Jerry extends his sincere thanks to his loyal friends and fans, and those of Trieste for their love and support of Armondo’s and the community it serves. Welcome back Jerry and the team at Armondo’s!

73-16 Northern Boulevard
Jackson Heights, NY


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