I’m not sure if it was the savory scarpariello sauce, the homemade cheesecake cannoli or the quaint, authentic atmosphere, but I’m now certain that Cascarino’s Brick Over Pizzeria & Ristorante is much more than a neighborhood pizzeria.
At Cascarino’s, “every day is Sunday.” Nestled in Bayside on Bell Boulevard, this “pizzeria” offers an abundance of entrees, flavorful appetizers and innovative desserts.
Chatting with owner Jimmy, I was informed of the detail and legacy within the selections on his menu. His grandmother was the inspiration behind many of the dishes, and Italian influences stressing the importance of simplicity and good, quality food were critical in creating many of the appetizers, entrees and desserts.
Chipotle mussels, eggplant caponata, buffalo calamari – this establishment aims to reinvent common Italian classics with southwestern influences and family-inspired traditions. Instead of breading the calamari heavily, Cascarino’s lightly fries the squid and serves it with made-to-order marinara sauce, prepared fresh each and every time.
The pasta dishes at Cascarino’s remind me of Sunday dinner at my grandfather’s home. Bolognese sauce- sweet, meaty, simply delicious; rigatoni with eggplant and tomato sauce – an assortment of textures, vivid colors and elegant presentation. The highlight of my pasta tasting was the lobster ravioli alla vodka, a creative pairing of flavorful lobster-filled ravioli bathed in a sea of rosy, velvety vodka sauce — very tasty.
The menu at Cascarino’s is hefty, to say the least. The owners offer most Italian classics including parmigiana dishes and your classic spaghetti and meatballs. For my entrée, I tasted the chicken scarpariello, tender roasted potatoes, sausage and bits of chicken all doused in a thick, savory sauce. My guest tried the cavatelli mascarpone, served with Prosciutto di Parma, bits of onion and mascarpone cheese in a plum tomato sauce. Created by owner Jimmy, this entree uses thick, rich cheese and sweet plum tomatoes to present an inventive customer favorite.
As a customary end to an Italian dinner, we finished the meal with espresso and dessert. Homemade cheesecake cannoli came about when owner Jimmy ran out of cannoli cream before a catering customer arrived and needed to think fast- little did he know this dessert would become a restaurant staple.
Cascarino’s is the essence of traditional Italian cuisine served in a quaint, comfortable atmosphere. Make sure to visit Jimmy and hear of his grandmother’s legacy, continued to this day, through the cuisine served at this cozy establishment.