A platter of Italian specialties, from lasagna and manicotti to stuffed shrimp and Clams Casino, holds the “Tour of Italy for Two” at DeAngelo’s Ristorante on Chrisler Avenue in Schenectady. (photo: BEVERLY M. ELANDER/FOR THE SUNDAY GAZETTE )
SCHENECTADY DeAngelo’s Ristorante in Schenectady is a good choice for dinner if you’re looking for comforting Italian food, and that’s no small compliment in a town where there’s a friendly neighborhood osteria around every corner.
The place has been in business for nearly 20 years, and the DeAngelo’s motto, “our family serving yours,” seems more than just a slogan once you’ve sampled the food and experienced the friendly service.
The pasta dishes — and there are a lot of them — are prepared to perfection, and considering the menu’s extensive offerings of cucina Italiana, I’d be surprised if you didn’t find your favorite Italian dish here — even if it’s pizza.
WHERE: 1510 Chrisler Ave., Schenectady; 393-1364
WHEN: 4-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 4-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 4-9 p.m. Sunday
OTHER INFO: All major credit cards accepted; handicapped accessible; kids’ menu available
The veal dishes alone give an indication of the variety of food available — Veal Marsala, Veal Pizziola, Veal Milanese, Veal Sorrentino, Veal Parmigiana, Veal Scallopini and Veal and Peppers. There is a similar array of chicken dishes, steaks and seafood and pasta dishes.
STUFFED PRIME RIB
The dinner specialties caught our eye right away. The Stuffed Prime Rib ($32.95) is described as “the ultimate surf and turf.” It’s a one-pound rib cooked and then stuffed with the chef’s special Scampi sauce with scallops, clams, mushrooms and jumbo shrimp.
We decided to order something called Tour of Italy for Two ($28.95). The big platter full of food is easily enough for four people.
Besides an antipasto salad of fresh veggies, cheeses, olives and meats, the “tour” features Chicken Parmigiana, lasagna, manicotti, Eggplant Parmigiana, stuffed shrimp, Clams Casino, broccoli and garlic bread.
A word about the garlic bread: It was heavenly, easily the best we’ve had in a long time. It was warm with crispy crust and flavored with both olive oil and fresh garlic. It was so good that dinner partner Beverly, who doesn’t often eat bread, said she could have made a meal of the salad and the bread alone. (You can order a basket of the garlic bread for $2.95).
But there was all that pasta too, and we made a valiant effort to at least sample most of it. In the end we carted home a bag filled with leftovers. My favorite was the Stuffed Shrimp, while Beverly gave the Eggplant Parmigiana high marks.
We were in no particular hurry on this evening, and the restaurant didn’t need our table, so we lingered by the crackling fireplace that dominates the dining area and enjoyed the DeAngelo’s display of kitschy Easter bunnies.
If you’re interested in lighter fare, the restaurant offers pizzas and hot sandwiches filled with steak, sausages, meatballs or eggplant and served open-faced on house-made bread.
Appetizer choices are the classics — Clams Casino ($7.95), mushrooms with crabmeat stuffing ($7.95); roasted peppers and anchovies ($7.95), Shrimp Scampi (five jumbo shrimp sauteed in a buttery wine-garlic sauce and served over rice for $7.95); Caesar salad ($7.95) and the house’s Skins DeAngelo (potato skins stuffed with mushrooms, mozzarella cheese and topped with house sauce for $4.95).
Besides red sauce dishes, DeAngelo’s offers Alfredo pasta dishes — fettuccine, seafood and tortellini in a creamy cheese sauce for $13.95 to $17.95.
If you’re in a traditional or nostalgic mood, you can order “family specialties” like spaghetti, ziti or rigatoni with meatballs or sausage ($9.95), and there’s baked ziti or rigatoni for $10.95.
We found DeAngelo’s a pleasurable experience in no small part because of the friendly and efficient service. Our tab was $38.27 including tax and tip.
A Schenectady restaurateur told me a few years ago that the sandwiches he served were overstuffed because Schenectady diners insist on getting a lot of food for their money. I’m not convinced that Schenectady is different from other communities in that respect. It’s an American characteristic to try to get as much bang for our buck as possible. That’s partly why we flock gluttonously to restaurants which are known for their supersized portions, even though it’s quality, not quantity, that should guide our dining choices. When I discover a restaurant where the food is good — and generously portioned — I consider it a real find, though I rarely feel compelled to follow mom’s advice and clean my plate.