By Grace Hiney
Proprietor Chef Pino (Giuseppe Barravecchia) asked my friend Barbara and me to come and sample a variety of his foods. What a treat! Pinocchio has been a local Italian treasure for many years, not only for its cuisine but also the array of gifts for children and adults alike.
Here you will find packaged Italian pastas of every variety, along with cars and trucks for kiddies, various candies, cookies, specialty oils and vinegars, and much more. In fact, for the upcoming Easter holiday there are large, beautifully wrapped presents filled with Easter eggs.
Pinocchio offers an outdoor patio with umbrellas keeping it shady, as well as comfy inside tables when the weather is rainy, which it was the day we had lunch.
To start us off on this chilly day, Chef Pino served each of us a vegan soup—one had beans with barley and the other was vegetable. Both were delightfully warm and delicious.
Next came the chopped salad with its mix of romaine lettuce, roasted bell peppers and bits of grilled chicken along with pieces of bacon, salami, boiled eggs and gorgonzola cheese, all tossed in a splendid balsamic vinegar dressing. This salad is large and quite enough for lunch ($10.99).
Next up were two pastas: tortellini with pieces of roasted chicken and spinach in a pesto sauce ($13.99), and a wild-boar rigatoni ($13.99). Both pastas were filled with flavor. Believe me, we had a hard time not eating every tasty bite, but with all of this enticing food we had decided to take some home for another meal. Here, those who may not eat gluten will find several pastas that are gluten-free.
The next offering was a small pizza with goat cheese, spinach, mozzarella, red onions, capers and garlic in a tomato sauce. It was delicious, but once again, we restrained ourselves and took some home for another day.
A secondi (or main dish) of chicken piccata and served with broccoli and spinach had superb flavor with the lemon caper sauce ($15.99). The other secondi dishes include chicken entrees, turkey meatballs, a Sicilian-style giant meatball, eggplant parmigiana, lamb shank braised in Cabernet, a veal shank osso buco, fresh salmon and Dover sole. Prices range from $11.99 to $16.99.
Our dessert treat was a delicious, rich chocolate brownie. Part of this too, was taken home, which meant that our “take-home” bag was quite full.
Best of all, in addition to the excellent flavors of each dish, are the numerous offerings, the special deals such as the half- or full-sandwich offerings and the array of burgers.
The burgers, featuring a half-pound of beef, are served on a grilled sesame bun with various toppings, along with a side of roasted potatoes ($9.99).
Their special menu for kids includes various pastas, pizzas and sandwiches, all in the $5 to $6.99 price range. A child age 10 or under may eat free Monday through Wednesday with the purchase of an adult meal.
Pinocchio provides delivery service from 5 p.m. for orders of $25 or more. The cafe also offers online orders, catering and gift cards. Hours are Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
This restaurant is a true Village treasure.
It is located at 970 Monument St. and can be reached at 310-454-0709. For more information, visit http://www.pinocchioincucinaca.com.