Hearty helpings abound at Pirone's, where chefs construct a sizeable menu of steaks, seafood, pizzas, and other traditional Italian specialties. As the dinner curtain rises, feast your eyes and your lips upon an opening number of fried calamari ($11) or mussels marinara ($10) before moving on to sing the praises of a tender, boneless chicken cacciatore ($17) backed by peppers and onions, and simmering in a marinara mushroom sauce. Waiters cart plates of meat- or cheese-tortellini alfredo ($16), chosen from among more than 22 pasta picks that range from traditional spaghetti with meatballs ($22) to an eggplant-topped baked ziti ($16). Meal-goers can appease meaty appetites with a mushroom-infused veal marsala ($19) or a thick-cut steak à la Pirone ($21) topped with mushrooms, provolone, shrimp, sherry sauce, and a miniature model of the restaurant, and those who prefer sliceable sustenance can snack on a sliver of spinach-and-ricotta pizza ($8–$17) or divide a mini calzone ($7) into five mini-er calzones.
At Apollo’s casual eatery, cooks layer freshly baked Italian rolls with a variety of deli meats and cheeses and top from-scratch pizza dough with herbs, sauce, and a house-blended mix of cheeses. When they’re not hand-tossing dough or stuffing strombolis with custom ingredients, they’re crafting homemade meat lasagna, sausage-stuffed pasta shells, and seafood plates such as fillet of flounder. They also prepare hoagies, burgers, and a sextet of salads made with garden-fresh veggies.
Fresh dough bubbles up around house-made mozzarella, sauces cooked daily, and recently reaped toppings at The Pizza Kitchen. The menu's savory starters parade bacon-wrapped scallops and potato skins cradling buffalo chicken and blue cheese, ideal for snacking on game day or luring a mascot out from under the bed. Stone-lined ovens, inspired by the co-owner's personal outdoor kitchen, exhale fiery currents across pizzas outfitted with meatballs, bacon, green peppers, mushrooms or a host of other toppings. Diners carry out dough disks and two liters of soda for at-home feasts or picnics uninterrupted by cutlery salesmen.
Tomato sauce basks in lochs of extra-virgin olive oil atop the tomato pie, a thin-crust creation that Pomodoro’s channels from the osterias of Italy. Sicilian-style and mozzarella-spotted margharita pies round out the menu’s pizza selection alongside a variety of Italian cuisine, from gourmet pastas and handheld paninis to desserts such as homemade profiteroles. Crimson walls reflect off Formica tabletops within the cozy dining room, where an exhibition kitchen enables diners to view the chefs’ culinary prowess or to engage them in games of peekaboo.
Chicken alfredo, shrimp scampi, eggplant parmesan. More than 30 housemade pasta dishes emerge from the kitchen every night at Piccolo Trattoria of Newtown. Chefs scatter pistachio nuts and goat cheese into fettuccine, smother penne with baby shrimp and pesto cream sauce, and cover fusilli with oyster and shiitake mushrooms.
Earlier in the day, however, these recipes take on a different form: they become pizzas. During lunch, chefs whip up more than 20 gourmet pies, crowning them with classic pasta ingredients alongside non-Italian flavors such as taco and cheesesteak fixings. Besides tossing noodles and flinging dough, the BYOB eatery's chefs cook salmon in a port wine reduction and sauté veal with figs and mushrooms in a cognac cream sauce.
Chefs at Fat Tony's populate a family-friendly menu with bubbling pizzas, brimming subs, and classic Italian entrees. Pizzas are tossed fresh daily with handmade dough, including slices of inside-out deep-fried pizza ($4.25+), sicilian cheese pies ($13) that arrive bare but for creamy mozzarella and zesty sauce, and 13 different gourmet pies ($10.50–$16) bearing toppings such as prosciutto, pineapple, or pesto. Seven ounces of thinly sliced sirloin fill each steak sandwich ($5.50−$7) and the verdant vegetarian sandwich ($6) cultivates a garden of spinach, peppers, and broccoli inside its gate of fresh italian bread. Venerable Italian dinners such as sliced eggplant or chicken cutlet parmesan ($9.50) preside over debates between forks and tablecloths to see who can throw the most food on the floor.