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Friday, July 4, 2014

Tony's Di Napoli

     Benvenuti a New York! Birthday month continued with a bang. You can't beat a long weekend in the Big Apple to extend the celebration, which now included John's special day as well. We planned a small family reunion with some relatives from New Jersey, and Tony's is the perfect family-style eatery right off Broadway and 43rd. Street, in the heart of Times Square.
     I have looked assiduously for a place like this in Miami, and I am sorry to say I haven't been able to replicate the feeling I get when I'm at Tony's. The closest I've come is Maggiano's and that was in Atlanta. But even there, the scent of franchise seeps into the experience. When you walk through the door at Tony's, you know you're about to be treated and fed like family and with friendly sophistication. There's always a celebratory air- every meal is a party.
     Tables of all sizes accommodate parties of any number and are covered in red-checkered and white tablecloths. Walls full of pictures feature recesses full of wine bottles. The restrooms in the basement remind me of every restaurant in Italy, and their unmistakable huge chalkboard menus look down on the joyous patrons.

     John and I arrived early and waited for the family at the bar. A stunningly beautiful lady bartender took our orders of a Corona for Hubby and a deliciously sweet and potent frozen Bellini for me. Let me just say, I was the life of the party after only one delicious drink!
     We began with the most delectable mountain of fried calamari with Marinara and Fra Diavolo (for the spice lovers) sauces on the side. For entrees, we all agreed on family platters of Chicken Marsala, spaghetti with Marinara, and Shrimp Fra Diavolo.
     I didn't try the shrimp, but those who did
were making satisfied noises, so I concluded that it met expectations. The chicken was stupendous and covered in copious amounts of mushrooms, the Marsala sauce rich in flavor, yet light in texture. In fact, I will confess that when the sauce accidentally touched one of my calamari, the combination was surprisingly pleasant. I know most people wouldn't agree, but I like to experiment with unlikely fusions. I was so intrigued by my new creation, Calamari Marsala, that I totally passed on the spaghetti.
     We were all so full at the end of the meal, that we didn't order any dessert, to my great disappointment. It would've been fun to see a huge platter of Tiramisu, Chocolate Mousse Cake or Ricotta Cheesecake in the middle of our table. No worries... it's New York. I'll be back.

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