by Philip Maneri
The name Crostini is what originally drew me to this terrific neighborhood establishment. The colorful sign out front actually made me want to give this pizzeria/restaurant the official Sicilian slice test: I personally have always rated pizzerias by the quality and consistency of their square pie.
While sitting in a clean, comfortable, well air-conditioned environment, I quickly recognized that the art-deco room with plenty of booth seating was more then just a regular pizzeria. As I enjoyed a quality Sicilian slice, I began to notice some serious plates of food being delivered to happy patrons. Their smiles and the wonderful aroma of these Italian dishes is what made me want to bring the family back for more.
So, we chose to have our Sunday afternoon Italian feast at Crostini. As our family of four entered, we were enthusiastically welcomed by Joe, one of the owners. We were quickly seated and introduced to our smiling waitress, Jill. Our drink order was taken quickly and a delicious basket of complimentary Italian foccacia bread was served. We were immediately impressed.
Now it was time to put the large menu to the test. The choices were nicely laid out and plentiful, and they included many gluten-free options. We started the meal with appetizers ranging from a slice of Grandpa Sicilian pizza to two different calamari choices, the Buffalo Style Calamari ($10.50) and the Calamari Arrabiata ($10.50), along with Mozzarella Sticks ($6.95) and the eye-catching Insalata Tuscan ($8.95) with mixed greens, roasted Portobello mushrooms, roasted red peppers and fresh mozzarella with a Balsamic reduction. None of the choices let us down. As our daughters enjoyed pulling apart their large, crisp Mozzarella Sticks, my wife and I got started on our Calamari choices and pizza. By the size of the plates, we knew we also had a meal for the next day.
The Grandpa Sicilian slice featured a light golden-brown crust with caramelized red onion and marinara sauce topped with seasoned bread crumbs and virgin olive oil. Our calamari plates offered an amazing aroma of delicious but spicy food. The Buffalo Style, served with a blue cheese dressing, got our attention first, but the Calamari Arrabiata, featuring hot cherry peppers, packed some serious punch. The smell was so good even our daughters filled their plates with the tender circles of zippy seafood and even they enjoyed the wonderfully spicy, but tasty, kick.
For dinner, we ordered a Grilled Vegetable Panini ($5.95) for one daughter, Fettuccini Alfredo ($10.95) for the other, Jumbo Stuffed Shrimp Parmigiana ($16.95) for me, and my wife chose the special: Penne with Eggplant, fresh tomatoes, shrimp and onions in a light red sauce ($13.95).
All of our dishes were large, served really hot and perfectly timed by our attentive waitress. The panini was loaded with grilled vegetables and the Fettuccini Alfredo prepared al dente, to our liking. The jumbo shrimp stuffed with crab meat and smothered in mozzarella cheese was huge and flavorful, and the special penne dish was just loaded with shrimp. We did manage a dessert of fresh lemon and orange sorbet served in their natural skins that complimented the meal perfectly and again put smiles on our satisfied faces. We finished up our tasty meal with a huge bag of leftovers enough for a full meal the next day.
There is just so much to choose from at Crostini, and the quality and quantity of food choices, plus the comfortable setting, make it more than a neighborhood eatery. We even noticed that catering is their specialty. This place is a destination that our whole family recommends; just make sure you bring your appetite!
947 N. Broadway, Massapequa