This blog is dedicated to all the gorditos, chubbies, huskies, bears, afrentados and foodies that love to eat delicious food and can't wait to hear where they should go next to get their grub on! I'm going to give you the 411 on all the places I love to frequent and all the places I seek out, like the culinary explorer that I am. I'm going to be real and tell what I feel and think. Bring on the comments and most importantly bring on the FOOD!
Amongst the countless gelato
places, cafés, bakeries, ristorantes, and pizzerias of Little Italy in the
Bronx, there is one restaurant whose food, service and history stands far above
their esteemed competition: Mario’s!
Since 1919, five generations of
the Migliucci family
have served authentic Neapolitan food at Mario’s in the Bronx’s Little Italy;
an amazing neighborhood, which stretches across East 187th Street from Arthur Avenue to
Prospect Avenue, known for its wonderful
Italian and Albanian fare.
is a large restaurant with ample floor space and exposed brick trim along the
walls, which are covered with oil paintings, photographs of celebrity clientele,
newspaper reviews, and culinary awards.Despite its size, Mario’s is warm and cozy.
night I visited, Mario’s was full of families laughing, clicking wine glasses
and enjoying themselves.To my right
was an older Italian couple, the husband-who I am pretty sure was the
inspiration for Tony Soprano-was a heavy set with a receding hair line, guido
accent andboisterous personality.His wife had huge hair, the same accent, and
wore enough make up to compete on Rupaul’s Drag Race.
neighbors and I shared the same server, who was attentive, friendly and
quick.I noticed he treated my
neighbors with the utmost care and respect. He referred to “Tony” as sir and
made sure to get everything he ordered as fast as could.
contemplated the appetizers, Tony and his wife were arguing over which
appetizer to share.He wanted the the
Eggplant Sciliana (eggplant baked with a marinara sauce with capers, olives,
garlic andpieces of toasted bread) and
she wanted the Fresh Mozzarella
Coprese(a salad made
up of slices of mozarella cheese with tomatoes and fresh basil) with wine.
After a loud and animated argument (with a lot of f-bombs thrown
around), they decided not to share and each ordered whatever they wanted.Tony’s argument in favor of the Eggplant
Sciliana might not have convinced his wife to order it, but it did me.
He was right,
the Eggplant Sciliana was delicious!The eggplant was soft and baked to perfection. The sauce, seasoned with
garlic and oregano, was hearty and delicious.The capers and olives gave the dish a wonderful kick of salt and the
toasted pieces of bread added a delightful crunchy texture.
As I ate, I decided to take out my camera and take a picture of my
eggplant.Tony must have seen the flash
from the corner of his eye and thought that I had taken his picture.
Immediately, he confronted me, demanding to know why I had taken his
picture.I saw my life flash before my
eyes and almost lost bowel control. Before I could explain (and beg for mercy),
his wife, who had seen what I had done, explained and told him to apologize.
He begrudgingly apologized and explained he didn’t like his picture
being taken. As a friendly gesture, he asked me what I thought of the Eggplant Sciliana and I told him it was wonderful. He turned to his wife and told her
they should’ve ordered the eggplant for two.She gave me an annoyed, yet comical look and I smiled back. Thank God
for his wife! If she hadn’t spoken up, I am pretty sure I would’ve been found
floating face down in the Bronx River the next morning.
Happy to be alive, I looked over the Entrée and
Steaks/chops sections of the menu and couldn’t decide between the Veal Cutleta la Parmigiana, Veal Scaloppinea la Pizzaiola with mushrooms (thinly sliced
cuts of veal cooked in tomato sauce with mushrooms), or Steak à la Pizzaiola with mushrooms
(steak cooked in tomato sauce with mushrooms).I chose the Veal Scaloppinea la Pizzaiola with mushrooms and ordered it
with the pasta; all of Mario’s entrees are served with
vegetables, pasta with tomato sauce or potato croquette.
The veal cutlets were moist, soft and
delicious. The tomato sauce with mushrooms was excellent; it was seasoned with
basil, oregano,garlic and had diced
roasted tomatoes, which added a wonderful sweetness to the dish.The mushrooms were plump, juicy and had a
rich earthy flavor.The Ziti side dish
was aldente and perfectly complemented the meal.
As I ate my dinner, Tony and his wife
talked about their children, the people who owed them money, and some poor guy
named Guiseppe who “was going to get what he deserved.”Hearing a vague, yet terrifying, statement
like that might’ve taken someone else’s appetite away, but my dinner was too
good to let a possible death threat ruin my meal.
Mario’s dessert menu is simple and
features: Tiramisu, Molten Lava cake, and Old Fashioned Plain
Cheese Cake.As delicious, as it all
sounded I skipped dessert and asked my server for the check.Tony’s wife asked me why I hadn’t ordered
any dessert and I explained that I’m diabetic and had eaten enough
carbohydrates.Tony advised me not to
eat so much next time and to order the tiramisu, because it was“friggin’” delicious.It was both a suggestion and order, to
whichI responded, “Yes, sir, I will.”
I don’t know for sure if Tony was
a “goodfella” or not, but I am certain that Mario’s food, service and ambiance
are exceptional.So if you’re looking
for amazing Italian cuisine, head to the Bronx’s Little Italy and visit Mario’s.It’s friggin’ awesome! Go taste for
yourself! ¡Buen provecho, or as our Italian family might say, Buon appetito!
2342 Arthur Ave.
Bronx, NY 10458 718-584-1188