Thats Amore At Commacks
By Luann Dallojacono/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Frank Sinatra did it his way, and Ciao Baby in Commack does
it your way.
Located on Jericho Turnpike in Commack, Ciao Baby takes patrons
back to a time when dinner came with live entertainment and
lounges and big bands ruled the day. Frank, Dean, Sammy and
other Rat Pack characters faces smile down at you from
every corner from photos, portraits and stills adorning the
colorful walls of vibrant blue. As we sat in our half-moon
booth watching Robin and the Seven Hoods and listening
to a Rat Pack classic soundtrack, we half expected the legends
to waltz away from the stylish bar at the front of the restaurant
and join us.
The festive ambiance isnt the only thing Ciao Baby has
going for it. They say they will make you anything you want,
as long as they have the ingredients, and one never leaves
hungry. Any head of an Italian household will hang their head
if there arent leftovers after a gathering (because
if the food is all gone that means you didnt make enough),
and Ciao Baby knows this. Portions are enormous generous
doesnt even begin to describe the amount of food you
Its the meal that keeps on giving, said
our waitress Amanda Ferranti.
Bread comes, not with butter, but a little plate of olive
oil, eggplant and roasted red peppers to entice the palate.
Then we moved on to a few of Ciao Babys more popular
The standout was the Calamari Arrabiata ($14.95/$18.95), semolina-crusted
fried calamari tossed with fresh garlic and hot Italian cherry
peppers. Now, calamari is a staple in Italian restaurants,
but what makes Ciao Babys different is that the sauce
doesnt come on the side. Instead, the calamari is tossed
in the spicy Arrabiata plum sauce, which has the slightest
kick that distinguishes it from a typical marinara.
The homemade Sicilian Rice Ball ($14.95) is gargantuan
a risotto rice ball filled with ground meat, peas and plum
tomato sauce, topped with melted mozzarella and fresh ricotta
cheese. Eggplant Rollatini ($8.95) is made of egg-battered,
thin-sliced eggplant with ricotta and fresh herb filling,
topped with plum tomato.
Entrees are rich and satisfying. A break from the ricotta
and tomato-based dishes, Chicken Scarpariello ($23.95/$34.95)
is a hit. A pleasant mix of piquant flavors, the dish comes
with pan-seared chunks of tender chicken with hot and sweet
peppers, sliced sausage, potato wedges and mushrooms in a
savory white wine herb sauce.
Chilean Sea Bass ($30.95) is thick but flaky, topped with
a unique Oreganata crusting of roasted pignoli nuts with aged
balsamic reduction over a julienne of grilled vegetables.
Gemelli Con Salsiccia ($23.95/$33.95) is a popular dish, on
the heavier side as far as pasta dishes go, but oh, so worth
it. Gemelli macaroni is a refreshing change from typical penne
and rigatoni, and comes in a luscious sun dried tomato cream
sauce with crumbled sweet Italian sausage, mushrooms and steamed
broccoli rabe with a dollop of creamy, fresh ricotta.
A major draw of Ciao Baby is that some of these dishes and
more are offered on an affordable prix-fixe lunch menu. Served
Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., $12.08 gets you
a salad or appetizer, entree and dessert. Entrees even include
choices from The Wrap Pack. On a previous visit
we opted for the Pollo Verde Wrap, with grilled chicken, basil
pesto, melted mozzarella and roasted peppers with mixed baby
The restaurant also offers a family style dinner package at
$24.95 per person. The portions are bigger, and the options
Keeping with the pace of the rest of the meal, desserts are
generous in size even the coffee cup is huge. We were
in awe of the Ciao Baby Volcano ($18.95) 14 scoops
of chocolate and vanilla ice cream with Oreo cookie crumbles,
chocolate sauce, walnuts and berries, in a milk chocolate
shell made on the premises. And we couldnt help but
smile at the childhood memories brought back by the Ice Box
Cake ($8.95), with its alternating layers of homemade chocolate
pudding and graham crackers. It was the first time weve
seen it on a restaurant menu and not in our own refrigerator.
Well be back to enjoy the bar menu and happy hour specials,
as well as on Wednesdays and Fridays to enjoy the DJ. On Sunday
night there is even a live singer from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Until
204 E. Jericho Turnpike
Mayfair Shopping Center
Other locations in Carle Place and Massapequa Park
Atmosphere: Restaurant/lounge throwback to the 50s,
Price Range: Moderate
Hours: Mon to Thurs
11:30 a.m. 11 p.m.;
Fri 11:30 a.m. midnight;
Sun 3 10 p.m.