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rich

Parkside

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I have long stated that the best Italian restaurant in New York City is Parkside, located in the Corona section of Queens.

After a six-month absence I dined at Parkside last Friday and my evaluation has changed. It's not only the best Italian in the city, it offers the best value of any restaurant in the city.

Dinner for seven with everyone having an appetizer and main course, four having dessert and four bottles of wine came to $282 (before tip). For those of you who haven't had the pleasure to dine there, this isn't a red-checkered tablecloth place. It's a white table cloth restaurant with excellent service in a relatively attractive setting. There are two downstairs rooms and an upstairs room. I prefer upstairs because it's quieter but my brothers enjoy the action downstairs and since they were paying, I let the kids have their way. :cool:

I started the evening with a half-dozen Blue Points and my entree was the best chicken dish in captivity - Chicken Provencal. The wines were a Kenwood Sauvignon Blanc ($16) and one on my favorite Long Island reds - 2000 Macari Cabernet Franc ($24). The Macari sells for $18 at the winery. (I was tempted to order the 1996 Silver Oak Cabernet for $110, but since I wasn't paying...).

All in all, another wonderful experience at Parkside for an incredible price. Is there a reason to go to any other NYC Italian? Well, maybe Babbo just for some diversity but they don't have "family" members eating there.


Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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You are dreaming if you think Babbo doesnt have "family" dining there. You are also dreaming if you think Parkside is at the level of any of the great Italian spots in nyc. Regardless, the Corona Park area is a treasure. Some salty Mozz from Louie's and a kiss from the sisters, dinner at the Parkside and a handshake from Tough Tony, desert at the Lemon Ice King while watching Boci under the lights - thats an evening well spent.


"Your girlfriend is a vegetarian, tell her she should eat rabbit...they're vegetarians too" Ali

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You are also dreaming if you think Parkside is at the level of any of the great Italian spots in nyc.

I don't. Parkside is much better.


Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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I Love Parkside. Easily the best crab cakes I've ever eaten. The fish is always incredibly fresh and well prepared. I don't think that Babbo and Parkside is a fair comparison. Not because one restaurant is any better or worse than the other, but because their goals seem to be different. However, I'd compare Parkside favorably to Il Mulino any day.

BTW, dining upstairs in the Marilyn Monroe room is an experience not to be missed.

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You are also dreaming if you think Parkside is at the level of any of the great Italian spots in nyc.

I don't. Parkside is much better.

Tony, is that you? :cool:

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BTW, dining upstairs in the Marilyn Monroe room is an experience not to be missed.

I enjoy upstairs as well. It's relatively quiet and more relaxed.

The restaurant is still the best-kept secret in NYC. Yes, I realize reservations are tough, but if people found out how good and how reasonable it is, they would be impossible.

Most people who travel to Queens for Italian, talk about Piccolo Venezia and I'm glad they do (keep some of the crowd away). As I tell those who ask me, if you want inferior Italian-style food and want to pay Manhattan-style prices (plus), then PV is the place for you. If you want an extraordinary experience go to PS.

I still can't figure out the Valet Parking System at Parkside. No matter what car I (or any of my friends or relatives) drive there, they always bring the correct car at the end without asking and no one ever gets a valet ticket stub.

A friend once asked me about this no-stub policy. I met him there and he questioned me at the bar while we were waiting for a table. I said to him that the restaurant didn't have valet parking and I didn't know who he left his car with. After a few nervous minutes, I told him the truth.


Edited by rich (log)

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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Read this and the same is still true today.

Nothing compares with Parkside. It's still the best of its type in the city. While others play with the Italian format, Parkside does the best Italian-American version. I realize now comparing it to Babbo was silly because it's an apple/orange thing. Babbo is an Italian-Batali restaurant and has no realtionship to the cooking of the Italian-American immigrant. It's only his version of what he thinks Italian food should be.

So try Parkside, and take grandma, she'll love for it.


Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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No, these days you get a valet ticket/stub :smile:

Obviously (since we've been there together several times and are going again next week), I agree that Parkside is a very good place for the old style Eyetalian-American (well Bklyn/Queens/Bronx) type of food. It's certainly better than any of the others of its ilk (Don Peppe, Piccolo Venezia, Marco Polo, Michaels...), although Queen can give it a run for the money (on just the food... certainly not on atmosphere or service) most of the time. But, even though Queen is 2 blocks from me, I'll drive to Corona for Parkside almost any time I want this experience. Last of its kind at this level.

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Wow! I also live just a few blocks from the Queen. I will definitely try Parkside soon.

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You should. We're going back tonite and taking a couple of others who've never been. It's across the street from bocce courts and one block from Lemon Ice King.

By the way, if you want to downscale it and see old Bklyn as it used to be (Keno boards in the dining rooms and all), go to Colandra's New Corner in the 70s (8th Ave). Get the eggplant rollatine app. and the lasagne. Look around at the customer base... 70 and 80 year olds finished by 5:30pm, families then arriving and leaving around 7-7:30pm, and some tables (like us) arriving at 7pm or so and just about closing it down by 9pm. The food is better than our local red sauce places (Red Rose, Sam's, Marco Polo) but not up to Queen. Worth the trip though. I think even Sneakeater liked it when we took him.

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I imagine that walking into Parkside back in the 80's was like walking into a restaurant scene from a Scorsese movie. And it isn't really that much different walking in on a Monday night, mid-summer, 2011...except you don't get the cigarette smoke.

Boisterously crowded with well dressed people (on a Monday night!) - I met my friends at the bar and after a quick apéritif, we were shown to a nice big round table in the "greenhouse" room. A giant bread basket filled with all sorts of goodies (meat bread, anyone?) and a plate with just enough salami, crostini and hunks of parmigiano for everyone at the table are immediately brought over and wine and water glasses are filled up just as quickly. The wine list is pretty deep and the prices amazingly reasonable, and I'm sure they make up for it in volume.

Our table started with a special order - soft-shell crabs, quickly sauteed in butter, olive oil, garlic and lemon - and quite fabulous. They were on the dinner menu at four to an order, but the kitchen was kind enough to plate one up for each of us...

2011_07 Parkside Soft Shell.jpg

For my appetizer, I ordered baked clams oreganata. I don't remember what anyone else had (it may have involved scungilli, eggplant and maybe a special salad or two?) as I was too busy devouring a great rendition of this dish. I usually order baked clams at Arturo's; don't tell them, but these put those to shame.

I do remember what a few of the entrees were, however. Another special from the kitchen was one of them - Chicken Provençale. Big chunks of chicken, perfectly seasoned and cooked, bordered by potatoes...

2011_07 Parkside Chicken.jpg

There were other chicken dishes ordered around the table, including Scarpariello (prepared both on and off the bone!) and Cacciatore. While I like my scarpariello a little more spicy, that's just me; in any event, the hunter's chicken proved just right...

2011_07 Parkside Cacciatore.jpg

Me - the veal, please. Milanese, to be precise. After my less than satisfying veal experience at Ma Peche last week, I needed a good one, and it didn't disappoint. The cutlet, not pounded into submission, thick enough to remain juicy, and crisped up just right on the outside. Strewn with a basketful of halved cherry tomatoes, chopped red onions and fresh basil - this will remain the Milanese I compare all others to...

2011_07 Parkside Veal.jpg

Dessert? Well, as mentioned above, the Lemon Ice King is just down the block; it's always good to take a walk before dessert, isn't it?


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

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Went with Weinoo (and my wife and another couple) and thought there had their "A" game going last night. The soft shells were perfect and as I have said, the Chicken Provencal is the best chicken dish in captivity (IMO). We had the Two Angels Petite Sirah - at $42 a steal.

All in all one of their top efforts and made better by the great company.


Edited by rich (log)

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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Ginny and I enjoyed it as well. Always nice to see weinoo again (or whatever his other names are) but missed Ms. Weinoo. And, of course, our regular eating companions Rich and Peg.

At any rate, for a Monday night, this place was on. Okay, so there werent any 1950's type "cigarette girls" giving out samples of beer the way there were another time we were there, but there was a magician going table to table doing card tricks. Really.

Weinoo pretty much named the dishes so I wont belabor the point(s). I remain convinced that this is the best of its ilk and it reminds me of some of the old Little Italy places I used to like years ago (Da Nico for one, but that was 20 years ago, when the backyard tables faced apartments where old Italian ladies were hanging out their wet wash and.... well, I digress). It has an Italian-American charm to it, doesnt do too much upsell and the food is above what is usually the case in these type places at a better than average price point. And the lit bocce court just outside the door and the valet parking and Lemon Ice King across the street... well, its a one block Arthur Ave. Worth going.

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Still as good as ever. Try the soft shells - tonight!!!


Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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So, you took my advice and showed up here again.  It figures that you chose to post about Parkside for your return.  See you soon.

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Posted (edited)

Yes I did. Enjoy the rest of Paris time. Went to Vinnum last evening - another top notch meal.

 

For those who don't know, Vinnum, IMO, is the best restaurant in Staten Island. And since I live there, that's a good thing.


Edited by rich (log)

Rich Schulhoff

Opinions are like friends, everyone has some but what matters is how you respect them!

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