DINING OUT: Molto delizioso!

October 8, 2014 Helen Klein
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If you are a pasta-lover, or have a passion for pizza, then get ready to chow down.

By the time you read this, Italian Restaurant Week, October 8-15, hosted in Brooklyn by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and the Italian Restaurant Federation, will have kicked off, enticing foodies to indulge in some of their favorite dishes, and mangia bene!

More than 45 eateries across the borough are participating, offering diners prix-fixe meals ($15-$20 for lunch; $25-$30 for dinner), or 15 percent discounts off menu prices, with some also serving up free goodies to patrons. Go to http://bit.ly/1vaY1c2 for a list of participating restaurants.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

The event is timed to coincide with Italian American Heritage Month.

About a dozen purveyors of Italian food were on hand – with trayfuls of their specialties – during a celebration at the soon-to-be-finished Il Centro Italian community center, 8703 18th Avenue , in Bensonhurst.

And, if the comestibles spread out on tables around Il Centro’s first floor are any indication, those who choose to take advantage of Italian Restaurant Week in Brooklyn are in for a treat.

Gorgeous Italian cheeses, multi-colored olives and salumi from Colluccio & Son served as antipasto, whetting the appetite for a red sauce-doused feast: tray after tray of pasta.

The Pearl Room served up penne enrobed in basil-studded tomato sauce with meatballs, and the quintessential comfort food was eminently satisfying.

The mini-pizzas from Frank & Sal’s were equally yummy, easy-to-hold and even easier on the palate.

A standout was the focaccia wedges, topped with tomato filets and a sprinkle of herbs, from La Bella Market.

Also scrumptious was the arugula salad with wedges of pear and sliced almonds from the aptly Caffe Buon Gusto – at once light and satisfying, sweet and slightly bitter, with the crunch of the nuts contrasting delightfully with the soft fruit slices.

One of the highlights of the spread was certainly Mama Rao’s Penne alla Vodka, which was both sweet and savory, the pasta perfectly al dente robed in the creamy sauce.

Another was the cannoli provided by one of the pre-eminent bakers of the sweet treat, Bensonhurst’s own Villabate Alba. And, yes, the crunchy exterior and creamy filling were perfect – the sort of dessert that ensures sweet dreams for those who eat it.

With all of the borough’s “Great Italian restaurants,” former Borough President Marty Markowitz – now vice president at NYC & Company – urged Brooklyn diners to make their reservations now. “The better the restaurants do, the better Brooklyn does,” he stressed, adding these reassuring, though certainly jovial words as he concluded his remarks: “During Italian Restaurant Week, all the food you consume is calorie-free.”

If only it were.

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