The twinkle lights beckon warmly. The valet takes our car. We step inside F.J.Pine on Bronxdale Avenue http://www.fjpine.com/history.html and take a step back in time.
Warm and homey ambience, brick wood burning pizza oven, wine related signs and decorations… someone here is a Yankees fan as well!
We are ushered in to what we are told is the original dining room.
Pine is one of the last hold outs from a neighborhood that has undergone extensive demographic changes.
The menu is large and classic old school Italian.
We ordered drinks and began reading. It was difficult to pick just one thing. I was teetering between the risotto pizzaiola, which sounded luscious but would render me needy of a nap after consuming it, or the orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage. This last being one of my favorites but a menu item that has many times left me disappointed and wishing I had just made it at home. I gave it a shot. George ordered the veal rollatini.
The table service is friendly and efficient. The waiter brought our bread and salad.
Sorry no pictures of the salad. As soon as I saw the mesclun greens and the abundance of chick peas and olives I dug in. The salad was tossed with a house made balsamic viniagrette. It came in a large bowl that easily gave us each a second helping.
That is one of the things that Pine is known for- it’s huge servings of food. Each dish is generous enough for 3 and even then you will probably take some home with you. We have a few friends with voracious appetites and I would gladly challenge them to finish a bowl of Pine pasta. Mike – I mean you!! The low prices and big helpings make Pine a favorite among families. And there were quite a few large families enjoying a Saturday night dinner out.
George’s plate arrived with three big rollatini in a marsala wine sauce with mushrooms.
I didn’t taste the rollatini but I did taste his potato croquettes. They were simply put – to die for! Crispy on the outside and filled with a cheesy potato mixture that was satisfying and rich.
The orecchiette were perfectly al dente and the sausage was crumbled and browned exactly the was I love it. It was tossed with the broccoli rabe in a perfect ratio of one to the other. The sauce was garlicky and light and delicious and worthy of some bread dunking. George said I just kept nodding my head and smiling. Neither of us finished our meal.
We had them bag it for us and then we ordered dessert. Wiser now, we decided to share this. I was going to order the tiramisu but when the waiter said they had run out and then suggested the chocolate ravioli I happily agreed. Did someone say chocolate and ravioli in the same sentence? !!!!Oh my! I don’t like pistachio ice cream so they readily substituted chocolate. This dessert was a wonderful warm and gooey triumph that was made even more delicious by the addition of the chocolate ice cream. A blend of warm and cold and crunchy and creamy. Heaven!
We will definitely be going back to Pine. With dinner completed, we waited outside in the hot August night, satisfied and full, while the valet brought our car. We put the top down and took a little tour around the neighborhood. We passed the house George’s mother grew up in.
We sat for awhile enjoying the quiet and the view.
What a night!