Dining Out at Tony Roma’s

December 16, 2013 Helen Klein
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American fare with savoir faire is now easily available to Brooklyn diners, with the opening of Tony Roma’s just a few steps away from Barclays Center.

Featuring the eatery’s renowned Baby Back Ribs, generously slathered with Roma’s original barbecue sauce, the menu is a compilation of palate-pleasing classics, a sample of which were available on the day before the official opening – December 10 – for members of the press and local dignitaries to taste.

I tried a little of everything that was offered and found it all flavorful and well-prepared. The salads were carefully dressed; the meats, tender; and the desserts, sweet, sassy and satisfying.

I started out with the Caesar Salad ($8; $11 with grilled or crispy chicken; $12 with grilled salmon). A savory combination of romaine leaves and croutons, it was beautifully enrobed in silky dressing, amped up by the addition of Asiago cheese.

From there, I moved on to several of Tony Roma’s signature appetizers.

Loaded Potato Skins ($7) combined several compelling ingredients – crispy, salty bacon; smooth, creamy melted cheddar and the delicate onion flavor of snipped chives atop the quintessential comfort food – a perfected baked potato half.

Kickin’ Shrimp ($12) were beautifully battered, deep-fried morsels enlivened by chili-infused cream sauce, while the Boneless Chicken Bites ($9) got their spicy savor from Buffalo sauce.

I tried several entrees. The Baby Back Ribs with Original BBQ Sauce ($22 full rack; $19 Roma rack; both include two sides) were falling-off-the-bone tender, sweet and tangy, a testament to the staying power of a classic recipe.

The Filet Medallions with Cabernet Demiglace ($25, includes two sides) were soft as a pillow on the inside, nicely crusted on the exterior, hearty and full of beef flavor, with the sweet demiglace providing a delicate contrast that was enhanced by a side of Loaded Mashed Potatoes, masterful, super creamy and flecked with bits of the tubers’ red skins.

The Mojo Chicken with Pineapple Salsa ($15, includes rice and fresh vegetable) was another symphony of sweet and savory, the grilled chicken filets enhanced by a brown mustard-citrus sauce and topped by little cubes of pineapple.

Then, there was dessert. I sampled the Raspberry Brownie Royale ($4), a brownie studded with chocolate chips and drizzled with brightly flavored raspberry sauce which should make chocolate lovers sit up and take notice.

While Tony Roma’s has been around for decades – the first restaurant opened over 40 years ago in Miami – this is Brooklyn’s first, and Tony’s daughter Sarina, a Williamsburg resident, said she was excited to see one debut in her home borough that brings to Brooklynites her father’s proven formula: “Delicious food at an affordable price in a place where people could feel at home and hang out.”

The franchise co-owner, Steve Menexas, concurred. Using Roma’s original recipes as a foundation, the corporation, he said, has nurtured the menu.

“We come up with better and better ideas,” Menexas explained, evolving a menu that is “innovative” while still being familiar to Roma fans, and which is as appealing to families as it is to couples out on a date or sports fans who want to watch the big game while they dine. As part of that commitment, the restaurant also offers brunch on weekends, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.

Roma’s daughter summed up the restaurant’s philosophy and its timeless appeal  — “Good food with good vibes – that’s what’s important.”

TONY ROMA’S

673 Atlantic Avenue

Brooklyn NY 11217

718-623-TONY (8669)

Monday-Friday: 11 a.m.-1 a.m.

Saturday and Sunday: 8 a.m. to 1 a.m.


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