Rocco's Brick Oven Pizzeria and Restaurant

Rocco’s Brick Oven Pizzeria and Restaurant is the perfect Italian restaurant on the corner that every neighborhood needs. Everything at Rocco’s is made from scratch from the Maniello Family recipes for your family to enjoy. Rocco’s is indeed a family affair, and though sadly, Rocco passed away recently, his son Mike and manager Mike keep the tradition of delicious pizza and Italian cuisine going strong.

One entrance houses the pizzeria where you can eat a quick slice, cheese or meat calzone or a hot hero sandwich filled with sausage and peppers, eggplant or chicken parmigiana. Pizzas are available in 12” or 18” sizes and are topped with your choice of fresh mozzarella, four cheeses, spinach and sausage, pepperoni, artichokes, olives and nearly anything you could think of. The crust is thin and crisp thanks to the intense heat from the brick oven. This pizza is so good, the phone constantly rings with orders to go all over the neighborhood and to La Guardia airport too. Have your kid’s pizza party here or have it delivered to your home.

Just next door, the tasteful, comfortable dining room is spacious and well-appointed with a handsome bar, sleek wood floors, sturdy wood tables and long, leather banquettes. The red and white checkered table cloths lend a homey touch of nostalgia and the walls are adorned with charming black and white photos of Italian family scenes. I have personally attended several family events here, where up to 40 of us dined on Rocco’s hearty portions. The food comes out hot and is served efficiently so that everyone can just relax and enjoy the excellent food. The barman mixes up your favorite cocktails, and pours fine wine, bubbly Prosecco, and cold beer to complement your meal.

The evening’s specials offer the best the season has to offer. We started with the chef’s special eggplant tower, composed of delicately fried eggplant layered with roasted peppers and buttery mozzarella, topped with a sprig of fresh basil. This dish was a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Next came their famous risotto rice balls, handmade with creamy Arborio rice, cheese and herbs, pan fried till golden and crisp on the outside ($8.95). Fresh mussels Luciano are prepared in your choice of red or white wine sauce and lots of garlic and herbs. Soak up the delicious broth with Italian bread and home baked foccaccia. The baked clams are tender, juicy, and topped with crispy bread crumbs ($6.75/6) and everyone, even kids, love the fried calamari with the chef’s zesty marinara sauce.

Rocco’s special salad could be a meal in itself, tossed with tender, baby greens, cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, then topped with slices of avocado and sprinkled with sweet corn. The balsamic dressing brings out all the fresh flavors and you can top this refreshing salad with grilled chicken or shrimp for a healthy dinner.

No one beats Rocco’s pasta options and specials such as the squid ink linguine with a mélange of seafood. From the menu, choose your favorite pasta: penne, fettuccine, linguini, spaghetti, tortellini, ziti, whole wheat and gluten-free. Then choose your favorite sauce like the creamy Alfredo sauce which is great on fettuccine or tortellini, while spaghetti or linguine goes best with red or white clam sauce made to order with juicy, cherrystone clams, garlic and fine olive oil ($15.95). My lovely companion tucked into a steaming bowl of tender tortellini smothered in rich, savory Bolognese sauce and was kind enough to let me dig in too. We both deemed it “buonissimo!” Keep it green with pasta and broccoli rabe, spinach, or broccoli sautéed simply with garlic and olive oil.

Entrées at Rocco’s include the freshest options in meat, poultry or fish. My fillet of sole oreganata was flaky and delicious, prepared with plenty of garlic and white wine, topped with golden breadcrumbs and served on a bed of spinach with mushrooms. Plump shrimp are prepared scampi style, Francese, Milanese, fra diavolo, or parmigiana for everyone’s taste. Chicken Francese is fork-tender and aromatic with lemony flavor while chicken Sorrentino layers a tender breast of chicken with eggplant, prosciutto and mozzarella, sautéed in a light sauce. All these entrées are served with your choice of pasta or salad and can be ordered “family style” in larger portions to make ordering for a group easy.

Save room for dessert because you’ll see a display case as you enter Rocco’s showing off chocolate profiteroles, tiramisu and their outrageously good banana pudding topped with cookies. The coffee and espresso are rich and robust, capping off your meal.

Rocco’s Brick Oven Pizzeria and Restaurant is open seven days a week from 11am to midnight during the week and until 1am on Friday and Saturday. Visit on a Monday when Monday Night Football meets Karaoke, so everyone is entertained. Then on Fridays, there’s an alternating schedule of live jazz and Italian music. What a great way to spend the end of the work week right here in the neighborhood with great food, wine, and music. I can personally vouch for the quality of the catering here, so call to book your next family party or business function. Enjoy honest home cooking and family dining at Rocco’s Brick Oven Pizzeria and Restaurant!

79-16 21st Avenue
Jackson Heights 718.721.3535
Like them on Facebook/roccosbrickovenpizzeria

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2018-10-01 digital edition