Flare's band of culinary savants bring together Italian flavors on a menu of home cooked pastas, fresh seafood, and toasty pizzas baked in a brick oven. Appetizers invite dining duos and quartets to share homemade lasagna rolls stuffed with ground beef, cheese, and house sauce, which limbos with grace under the mouth's laser security beam. For pizza, chefs paint a doughy canvas in a tableau of specialty toppings such as danish ham, capicola, italian sausage, and shredded mozzarella that melts via the flames of a brick oven. Eaters navigate their forks through lobster-filled ravioli drenched in a brandy cream sauce and tossed with tiger shrimp. Finally, hands intertwine to split up a dessert pizza weighed down in a choice of four sugary toppings, such as Reese's peanut butter cup or sliced strawberries drizzled in chocolate. Groups of four pair their Italian eats with a bottle of red or white wine, including a Citra pinot grigio collected during Italy's seasonal wine deluges.
Christie Flanagan has been cooking for more than 20 years, and along the way has managed to conquer one of the country's favorite foods: the pizza. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and the owner of Napolitano's Brooklyn Pizza, she and her team build their New York- and Sicilian-style pies from housemade dough and pizza sauce every day. An array of slices is always available, while pizzas such as the barbecue chicken-topped Cyclone or the Luna Park "White" Pie with ricotta come as full pies. The team's calzones and stromboli capture those fresh pizza flavors in appetizing pockets and the Brooklyn deep-fried calzone adds to the long list of talents inherent in very hot oil.
Andiamo's culinary masterminds quiet grumbling tummies with a menu of traditional Italian dishes prepared with an American twist. Decadently fried mozzarella wedges ($8) rest beside a vat of marinara sauce, and crispy tomato bruschetta with pesto and mozzarella ($8) stokes stomach fires like old-timey hard candies made of flint stone. Customizable bowls of pasta drenched in an array of 12 sauces, including pesto cream and roasted garlic ($12), entangle chicken, sausage, or meatballs in plumes of angel hair, penne, linguine, or bowtie noodles, and a mound of lobster ravioli ($14) nuzzles against diced tomatoes and pink vodka sauce. Chefs masterfully concoct nine chicken ($13) or veal ($14) dishes, including the eatery's signature Andiamo preparation, which blends Frangelico cream sauce, diced tomatoes, and portabella mushrooms. In addition to the savory spread, feasters can rinse uvulas with a glass of wine ($4–$5) or flaunt amateur archaeology skills by digging through sweet strata of tiramisu ($5).
When Caprice opened in East Greenwich, The Rhode Show correspondent Joe Zito interviewed owner Kostas Karampetsos and overflowed with enthusiasm for his classic Italian preparations. Drawing from his experience running Tavern by the Sea, Kostas and head chef Domingo Fernandez created a menu of pizzas, pastas, and chicken and veal entrees. They also draw inspiration from East Greenwich’s nearby sea monsters to craft seafood dishes such as the scrod francese and frutti di mare, which peppers linguine with littlenecks, scallops, and mussels. Caprice surrounds its guests with elegant dark wood tables and floors and a fully stocked bar. A long wall of windows admits sunlight during the day, and hanging lamps ribbed with an abstract floral design take over at night. Patrons can pull up leather chairs upholstered with a panel of pastel stripes, or slide into one of the lush semicircular booths lining the walls. Behind a speckled stone bar, bartenders also carefully mix more than a dozen specialty martinis.
Christopher Palios, executive chef and owner of Sophia’s Tuscan Grille, inherited his cooking skills from his Sicilian grandmother, with whom he worked side-by-side as a child constructing traditional Italian dishes. Palios went on to refine his techniques by attending culinary school, traveling to the Caribbean and northern Italy, and working in the kitchens of celebrity chefs Emeril Lagasse and Todd English. Palios uses high-quality ingredients to create innovative dishes that reflect the Tuscan countryside.
Personal touches go into the savory entrees, as seen by the hand-stretched peasant-style grilled flatbreads and the handcrafted nuggets of spinach and ricotta gnocchi. Black n’ blue mussels—simmered with crisp pancetta, gorgonzola, and chives—and linguine with clams pair with diners’ libations toted from home under the restaurant's BYOB policy. House-made desserts round out meals with creamy bites of wild-strawberry spumoni as refreshing as a nap in the produce aisle. To bring the Tuscan experience to their own kitchens, diners may take a cooking class or purchase one of four spice rubs hand mixed and packaged by chef Christopher.
From the road, Spirito’s Restaurant looks like a laid-back beach house, with white siding, a gabled roof, and a covered, wraparound porch. But indoors, furnishings such as candle-strewn chandeliers, enormous Persian rugs, and dark wood wall paneling create a more luxurious ambiance. White tablecloths host plates of traditional Italian pasta, grilled pizzas, and fish and veal entrees in subtle wine sauces. Glass stems can globetrot through an international wine list offering more than 20 wines by the glass and another 20 by the bottle. Spirito's also caters events with buffets, to-go trays, and hearty brunch spreads.