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And I wouldn't want to see anything happen to DeGennaro's pan-fried yellowtail snapper ($24.95); dressed in caramelized onion, it had a crunchy coating of herby bread crumbs, the fish luscious beside a mound of garlic mashed potatoes and grilled grape tomatoes, miniature balloons that popped open to deliver a rush of pungent juice. A bit of velvety sautéed escarole and lightly oiled beans added notes of green.
They were out of veal chops, so we substituted veal Sinatra ($22.95, called veal Degennaro on the menu), pounded scaloppini cooked in sweet marsala with button mushrooms, layered with sautéed spinach and prosciutto, cloaked in gooey provolone, and served with a swirl of emerald broccoli rabe. Ropes of linguine, presented in an off-kilter bowl with an assertively fresh marinara, had good, fleshy texture.
Unbelievably, we managed to put away three side dishes and two desserts after all of this: a competent mushroom risotto ($10.95, which needed more acid or salt), a plate of Gorgonzola fries ($5.95, mushy, greasy, aggressive), and a bland escarole with beans ($6.95). I wouldn't recommend any of them, and Lord knows you don't need to eat this much anyway unless you're getting paid to do it. We had three mini canolis ($7.95) filled with pistachios, chocolate chips, and whipped cream. But no matter how stuffed you are, you have to shovel down at least a few bites of Degennaro's carrot cake ($7.95): a moist, buttery sponge stocked with roasted candied pecans, its maple cream cheese frosting slathered on with a trowel. Here's a cake to smash any New Year's diet resolutions to smithereens.
The food's fantastic.
So what's it gonna take to get Pa' Degennaro's to hire some extra waiters, to put a manager on the floor who can attend to necessary niceties when the servers are too slammed to notice the lady sadly crisscrossing the room, empty of glass and even emptier of heart?
It's so simple: She just wants to be wined and dined.