Stressed out and looking for a calm setting for a perfect dinner? Try Bruno-Ristorante Italiano in Howard Beach.
Escape from the madding crowd to this fine Italian eatery located at 158-22A Crossbay Blvd. All your senses will be pampered from the subtle yet elegant dining room to the excellent service and superbly cooked cuisine.
It should come as no surprise that the restaurant, which opened in August, is already a hit. The owner is Bruno Rinaldi, who has been in the business for 44 years. He most recently was co-owner of the former Carosello Restaurant, also in Howard Beach.
We began our dining experience with the hot antipasto and the stuffed artichoke, which was from the daily specials. Both were excellent.
The antipasto included shrimp, fried calamari, stuffed mushrooms, stuffed clams and stuffed mussels plus eggplant rolatini and fried bread stuffed with mozzarella.
The artichoke was huge; stuffed with breadcrumbs, olives and capers and served in a buttery base. Just delicious.
For our entrees, we opted for veal sorrentino and chicken scarpariello. Rinaldi says you’ll never go home hungry here and he’s right; his portions are huge.
The veal was so tender you could cut it with a fork. My companion said it was the best he’s ever eaten. It was stuffed with prosciutto and eggplant and topped with mozzarella in a light tomato sauce. It was rich and divine.
The chicken dish could feed a family of four and consisted of chopped chicken pieces, sausage, potatoes and red pepper in a brown sauce. Hearty and delicious.
We really didn’t have room for dessert, but couldn’t leave without trying the tiramisu and chocolate profiteroles filled with whipped cream. Both were great choices.
Our server, Joe, was impeccable and Lisa, the restaurant manager, noted that Rinaldi’s staff all came over from the Carosello. She has worked for him for 11 years and most of the others for even longer. He must be as good a boss as he is a restaurateur.
Next time, we’ll try one of the pizzas cooked in Rinaldi’s attractive brick oven. The owner said he used to have to go to Manhattan to get one. Now he has his own oven, which is a focal point of the dining room, surrounded by small tiles.
The restaurant is open for lunch at 11 a.m. daily. There are half-priced specials noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Dinner is served Sunday through Thursday, until 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday until midnight.
If you can’t find what you want on the menu, which is hard to believe, Rinaldi says they’ll make whatever you want.
For reservations call (718) 322-7866.