Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach is teeming with restaurants, and among these, one stands out —Mahogany Steakhouse, on the corner of 161st Avenue.
“If we were an Italian place, we’d just be one more Italian place,” said manager Vince Cardillo. “This way, we stand out.”
But Cardillo does not need to sing the praises of the restaurant to make it stand out. The food does that on its own.
My guest and I dined at Mahogany on Saturday, October 13 and began with a sampling of the restaurant’s soon-to-expand wine list. The merlot and chardonnay proved especially tasty, but Cardillo said connoisseurs will have more to choose from within a few months, including selections from France’s Bordeaux region, which had a record year in 2005.
Our amiable waiter, Luis Dumancella - dressed, like the rest of the wait staff, in formal attire - presented us with a slew of appetizers, including a plate of tomato and the freshest mozzarella.
“We get our mozzarella straight from Italy, and it comes in each week,” said Cardillo.
Such authenticity is not surprising when you consider who owns the restaurant - well-known Howard Beach civic leader Nick LoPrinzi and his brother, Vinny.
The Asian Calamari served as perhaps the most unique dish sampled all evening. The blend of the traditional seafood dish with the added spice of a tangy sauce will leave you wanting more.
What separates Mahogany Steakhouse from competitors is that it doesn’t saturate its dishes with fancy seasonings and artificial flavors. Instead, it successfully utilizes the natural flavors of each dish.
What’s the secret?
“Freshness,” said Cardillo. “We get our seafood in fresh every day. We don’t store it, we use it for one day, and that’s it.”
The philosophy of freshness seems to apply to all dishes. The swordfish over spinach is not to be missed if you are a seafood lover, while steak eaters will want to order the restaurant’s signature Porterhouse, which strives to achieve a perfect balance - not too thick, juicy, but not over-saturated, and firm, but still easy to slice.
Loyal to true New Yorkers, Mahogany offers Junior’s Cheesecake for dessert, as well as a tiramisu, which boasts just enough rum to add flavor without overpowering the dish.
When you leave, your wallet may be as full as your stomach. Mahogany’s prices are extremely reasonable.
So, next time you’re on Cross Bay Boulevard, be sure to visit the Mahogany Steakhouse.
161-50 Cross Bay Boulevard
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.;
Friday and Saturday, 11:30 to 2 a.m.; Sunday, 2-10 p.m.
Dinner menu prices: meat dishes range from $23 to $40,
while most seafood dishes cost about $30. Sides go for under $10.
Parking: Lot in back; valet offered.