Friday, January 4, 2013

Basil Expands Beyond the Brick Oven

Basil Brick Oven (28-17 Astoria Blvd., Astoria) -- closed Wednesdays

When Basil held its grand reopening last fall, patrons enjoyed a newly expanded dining room that nearly quadrupled the original seating capacity, along with a front cafe featuring a gelato counter.  But that was merely a small taste of what the team at Basil Brick Oven aspired to offer.  As the summer months approach, a glimpse out the back window reveals a rapidly developing outdoor space which will include backyard patio seating.

Chef "Danny"
With a strong additional culinary staff joining Executive Chef and Pizzaiolo Daniele Barbos, the giant new kitchen can also finally be put to good use.  And Barbos has recently been introducing several new menu items as weekend specials, while carefully editing which dishes will make the final cut.  Just before my trip home for Christmas break, I was offered a sneak peek at some of the new items.  You can check them out in person, as well, but only on the weekends for now.  If you  try something you love (which you inevitably will), make sure to voice your praise so your favorites make the final menu, which will be revealed in the next few weeks.

The 'fettucini aragosta' features al dente noodles tossed in a tangy diavolo sauce with buttery herbed breadcrumbs that add crunch, all beneath a freshly steamed succulent half lobster.

Enormous, tender breaded calamari rings are served with a haystack of zucchini and carrot ribbons.

Plump, porcini-encrusted diver sea scallops are wrapped in bacon and served in a trio over thick, creamy polenta with truffle shavings.

Perhaps my personal favorite was this outrageously delicious rendition of an Italian-American classic, 'homemade beef lasagna al forno' under bubbly blankets of baked mozzarella.

Chef Danny makes over 60 pounds of homemade mozzarella each day... enjoyed here in a panini.
Other new items include a filet of sole and mussels in a white wine caper sauce, ribeye steak, and an oven roasted rosemary salmon.  Guests can also expect to see a few new pizzas join the already over 40 pies currently on the menu, as well as a few other pastas, panini, and salads.  Be sure to save room for the popular tiramisu, served over a cocoa dust stencil-adorned plate.

Basil Brick Oven Pizza on Urbanspoon

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