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.
A BYOB eatery, Ristorante Marcello's Pizzeria serves a menu that merges Italian staples such as linguine and clams with innovative dishes like crab mac 'n' cheese or buffalo-eggplant bites. The kitchen team adds an element of surprise to its specialty pizzas with pies such as the cheese steak and fried onion or the Spiral pizza—which was what NFL quarterback Johnny Unitas would toss to his hungry receivers.
It may be New Jersey, but the pizza style is decidedly New York. Either in family or personal sizes, the pies on Original People's Pizza & Family Restaurant's menu pack toppings of ricotta cheese, fried onions, or fresh basil and can be stuffed or served in either classic New York or Sicilian slices. Fifteen years have helped the chefs add Big Apple flavor to its Italian classics in a variety of forms. There are entrees of chicken giardino, a chicken breast sauteed with mushrooms and sundried tomatoes, or scallops served with spinach and peas in a white wine sauce. Then there are the pasta dishes, which use fresh noodles to soak up garlic sauce and corral littleneck clams just the way swimming pool noodles soak up pool water and littleneck clams.
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.
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.