By Tes Silverman
When a customer steps into Cirella’s Restaurant in Melville, owner Dean Cirella wants them ot feel like family.
“I have managers like Tammy, who has been with me for 20 years and Ed for 15 years, who ensure that whether you’re a regular or a new customer, you leave our restaurant feeling like you’re part of our family,” he said.
The Cirella family opened the 14 Broadhollow Road Italian restaurant 28 years ago. Ever since, Cirella has been wowing diners with classic Italian dishes, as well as introducing modern dishes to newer palates.
In addition to the menu, the decor, with earthy colors on the walls and dark, wooden table and chairs, gives off a warm and comfortable ambience to diners.
Under the direction of Executive Chef Anthony Trobiano, who has worked at the restaurant for five years, diners are introduced to traditional and modern appetizers such as Caprese buffalo mozzarella ($14), and Blue Point oysters oreganata ($14).
The buffalo mozzarella is served with beefsteak tomato, basil and eggplant caponata. The creaminess of the mozzarella combined with the mild, sweet flavor and meaty texture of the tomato and the soft texture of the eggplant result in a dish that may be simple but filled with various flavors and textures.
The Blue Point oysters are made with bread crumbs, garlic, parsley and oregano, and are baked, resulting in a delicate and flavorful appetizer.
For the main course, Cirella’s offers entrees like chicken, pork, veal and seafood, but perhaps the one to try is the Capellini Pescatore ($18 small/$21 large). The dish is made with shrimp, scallops, sundried tomato, pancetta, San Marzano tomato and cream sauce, and served with the diner’s choice of pasta. The shrimp’s firm texture, the scallops’ tenderness, the savory flavor of pancetta, combined with the tomato and cream sauce create an entree filled with intense flavors that’s sure to enhance the diner’s taste buds.
No Italian meal is served without pasta and Cirella’s choices are plentiful. Classics like spaghetti, ravioli and lasagna are perfect fits, but diners with dietary issues can also select the gluten-free pasta.
For the healthy diner, the whole wheat pasta primavera is served with grilled vegetables, garlic and oil is delicious.
Those looking for a side with their entree can turn to the burnt broccoli ($7), which is sautéed in olive oil, lemon and broiled, resulting in a crispy and light side dish; or the asparagus brown butter parmesan ($7), which is lightly browned in butter and topped with cheese, making it a crunchy and creamy side.
To end the culinary journey, desserts like creme brulee or mandarin orange cake are available.
The creme brulee is creamy and topped with caramelized sugar and cherry, but is surprisingly less sweet than most creme brulee served elsewhere.
The mandarin orange cake is moist and spongy and topped with mandarin oranges, resulting in a delicate, orange-infused dessert.
While Cirella’s has been serving Italian fare since 1987, they have made it a point to keep up with their customers’ growing palates. In 2004, the restaurant added a sushi bar, offering choices like Naruto roll, yellow tail jalapeno or Cirella’s roll. They may seem out of place, but in actuality, they allow diners to expand their gustatory experience.
For Dean Cirella, customer satisfaction is paramount.
“We pride ourselves in making sure our diners get what they ask for. Most of our diners are regulars who come hereexpecting to dine on their favorite dishes and we make sure they do,” he said.