Tag Archive | "restaurants"

Better luck at next year’s Savor the Bronx


The legendary Mario's Restaurant served its regular fare for restaurant week (LINDSAY MINERVA/The Bronx Ink)

Holy cannoli.  No special prices at Mario’s for the Bronx’s first annual restaurant week?
Instead, customers looking for a deal at the iconic Arthur Avenue restaurant were offered a free glass of Montepulciano red wine and a complimentary crash course in all things Italy. Ionic columns and brick arches frame the dining room overflowing with Roman sculptures, portraits of Tuscany, Italian flags, and endless family photos.
Owner Joseph Migliucci said he could not offer a special prix fixe menu because his family-owned business in Belmont already offers the best food on Arthur Avenue at a great price as it is. “Being here 92 years, we feel we’re the best restaurant on Arthur Avenue,” said Migliucci, 73, who has been working at the restaurant named after his father since he was 13 years old.

Mario’s was one of 40 restaurants chosen to participate in “Savor the Bronx,” an event that offered customers a chance to explore the borough’s culinary diversity at a discount from Nov. 1 to Nov. 13. Migliucci believed the promotional two weeks did not bring in any more customers this year.

What started as a pizza parlor with six tables in 1919 now seats more than 100 in what is now one of the most famous Italian restaurants in the city’s “Real Little Italy.”  Migliucci’s father Mario, his uncle Clemente, and great grandmother Scolastia–all originally from Naples–opened the restaurant after they moved to the United States.

The cheesy penne-rigate sorrentina made with southern Italian sauce went for $13.50e with southern Italian sauces. The pasta was hidden beneath a layer of baked mozzarella. Ricotta cheese oozed out of the thick tomato sauce.

Another popular southern Italian dish is the stuffed eggplant for $9, also known as eggplant rollatini. Slightly under-cooked, it hid bits of beef and sausage not mentioned on the menu.

For these heavier dishes, the pleasantly crispy sesame bread with olive oil and butter soaked up the savory tomato sauce. It’s worth a trip to Adieo, where the bread is made everyday, just two stores down.

The clams oreganate at $9 for 5 were seasoned with oregano and baked with bread crumbs are somewhat lighter. The fresh clams–bought from the Cosenza’s fish market across the street–were served with squeezed lemon on top.

“Restaurant Week did not really help us, but it was the first year,” said Migliucci.  “Maybe next year it will catch on.”


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Green tomatoes and a chicken base

Omar Corona is a cook at Metate, a Mexican restaurant in Riverdale

by Mehroz Baig

Omar Corona, 28, works as a cook at the newly opened Metate, a Mexican restaurant in Riverdale. Originally from Mexico City, he moved to the United States when he was 15 years old and he’s been a Bronxite for the last six years. For Corona, keeping Mexican traditions alive is important, and one of the ways he marks his Mexican roots comes in the form of preparing Mexican dishes , especially his favorites,  fajitas with pipian verde, a green sauce served with a variety of meat.

“You have to put green tomatoes, cilantro, cebolla [onion], garlic and a chicken base,” says Corona.

His favorite Mexican food to eat also happens to be pipian verde, “because the taste is Mexican,” Corona added.

Corona remembers growing up in Mexico and celebrating Cinco de Mayo. “In Mexico, all the schools would close and we’d celebrate for like two to three days,” Corona said, adding that the Cinco de Mayo celebration in the U.S. is admittedly more subdued.

Corona also celebrates another traditional holiday, Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead. He says that during the October holiday, he creates an altar in his house with traditional offerings of milk and flowers.

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