Competition amongst Italian cuisines on Cross Bay Boulevard is fierce, with an array of long-standing, established eateries lining the main road in Howard Beach.
So when longtime restaurateur Bruno Rinaldi opened up Bruno-Ristorante Italiano on the boulevard — close to seven weeks ago in September — he knew he would have to find a way to stand out above other businesses.
Before Bruno’s, Rinaldi was co-owner of the former Carosello Restaurant, which was also located on Cross Bay Boulevard. Forty-four years of experience gives Rinaldi more than a fighting chance amongst competitors, and the restaurant’s cozy, at-home ambiance, simple yet elegant décor, delectable food and novelty brick oven blow other businesses out of the water.
Rinaldi said he went from managing 9,000-square-feet of space to 2,000, allowing him to better serve his customers. Rinaldi and his attentive wait staff know how to make a visit personal and memorable, whether or not the patron is a loyal fan following him up the boulevard to his new quarters, or a brand new customer.
The experience starts just outside, where Bruno’s entices eaters with the delightful and seductive aroma of fresh, made-to-order brick oven pizza. Offering a wide variety – including margherita, napolitano, campagnola, seafood, vegetarian and more – Bruno’s pies are perfect for individual tastes.
Down to the crust, the Regina Margherita in particular is a superior pizza pie that New Yorkers can be proud of. It comes with a tantalizing blend of fresh buffalo mozzarella, basil, extra virgin olive oil and fresh grape tomatoes heaped upon a wood-fired, crispy, hearth-baked crust. It’s also great for anybody on-the-go who isn’t willing to sacrifice taste for time, since it only takes 90 seconds to make from the moment it hits the oven.
As for an appetizer, for anyone who has ever had a bad experience with octopus, try Bruno’s grilled pulpo. Served on a bed of greens, the dish comes with four exceptionally tender and moist pieces of octopi — supple enough to cut with a fork. The reason for its incredible tenderness, Rinaldi said, is the fact that the succulent supply is shipped overseas from Portugal. The hint of lemon over the dish seals the deal.
Entrees include a large selection of pastas, meats and seafood. The Chicken Capricciosa came highly recommend and boasts a blend of diced tomatoes, onions and balsamic vinegar drizzled over two generously-large and thinly-sliced pieces of breaded, pan fried chicken cutlets.
Other best-selling, crowd favorite entrees worth checking out include the Filet of Sole Oreganata and the Veal Sorrentino.
The restaurant received an “A” on its state inspection test right off the bat, and Rinaldi means business. For a delicious meal with personal service in a relaxing atmosphere, try Bruno’s and enjoy Italian cuisine done right.