by Fran Sikorski
An interior renovation and enhanced menu highlight the 32nd anniversary of Di Nardos’s, a popular Italian restaurant in Pound Ridge owned by the Chef Francisco “Frank” Salvi, his wife Maria, their daughter, Mary Jane and son, Nicholas.
The front, less formal dining room accommodates pizza lovers, another fining area is the family room and a third space offers a quieter atmosphere for couples who prefer to dine in a more relaxing atmosphere with less activity surrounding them.
Before immigrating to the United States from Calabria, Italy, in 1963, Chef Salvi learned to cook by watching his grandmother, Giovanna Salvi, prepare family meals. He is assisted in the kitchen by sous chefs Manuel Ipina and Michael Tetreault.
When Mary Jane Salvi visits Europe, she gather recipes to add to the popular Pound Ridge restaurant menu “and does a great job” according to her father, who focuses on traditional, simple dishes with quality ingredients.
The appetizers begin with antipasto Italian for two, an assortment of salami imported Parma prosciutto, marinated mushrooms, cannellini beans, mozzarella, tomatoes roasted peppers, provolone cheese and black olives.
Other choices are clams sauteed in garlic and marinara sauce, grilled portobello mushrooms served over baby greens drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, carpaccio di manzo, al parmigiano, thin slices of beef topped with arugula and shaved parmesan cheese, and frittura di calamari with marina sauce. Soup, in addition to daily specials like crema di verdure con ricotta, a puree of broccoli, zucchini, peppers, carrots and tomatoes with ricotta cheese and crostini are minestrone tortellini in brodo and pasta e fagioli.
Salads are tricolore with arugula, endive and radicchio, mixed greens goat’s milk cheese with arugula, shredded carrots and balsamic vinaigrette: Caesar, and baby mesclun greens with house dressing. Homemade pasta and sauce are a specialty at DiNardo’s. Signature dishes are fusili with shrimp, asparagus and chopped tomatoes in a light cream sauce, gnocchi prepped with Bolognese-style meat sauce, linguine with assorted seafood in a light tomato sauce and spaghetti prepared with tomatoes and basil.
A selection of 15 pizza offers, in addition to the traditional: boscaiola, asparagus, walnuts, tomatoes and cheese: Quattro stagioni, black olives, artichokes hearts, mushrooms, tomatoes and cheese, Genovese, bruschetta , pesto and cheese, prosciutto e funghi, imported Parma prosciutto, mushrooms and cheese. The house special is sausage, meatballs, pepper, onions, pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives and hot peppers.
Tripe prepared in a marinara sauce has been a menu favorite for 30 years, according to chef Salvi. Other favorite entrees are pork chops sauteed with onions, peppers and potatoes: chicken scarpariello, bone in or boneless, sauteed with white wine, lemons, rosemary and a touch of brown sauce: grilled veal chop with shiitake mushrooms: chicken livers sauteed with mushrooms in marsala wine sauce and tilapia simmered with clams, mussels, baby shrimp in fava bean -white wine sauce: and calamari sauteed with garlic and marinara sauce.
How can you no resist ordering dessert at Di Nardos’ when there are 17 “temptations” like coppa spagnola , a classic amarena cherry and vanilla gelato swirl topped with amarena cherries, frutti di bosco, fragant short pasty base filled with pastry cream, decorated with an assortment of blueberries, black and red currants and raspberries, apple cinnamon cake: profiteroles; and coppa cafe, a flor di latte gelato with a rich coffee and pure cocoa swirl, recommended with espresso coffee.
There is a contentment in dining at Di Nardo’s Restaurant, and the Salvi family promises more to come.