You know that scene in every mobster movie where the Italian guy walks into an Italian restaurant, slips $20 to all the Italian waiters, and proceeds to chow on gorgeous looking Italian food next to some gorgeous looking "broad?" Always a bad ass scene. An “I wanna be that smooth and eat that well” type of scene. Bamonte’s, an Italian spot that rivals any other in town, is Brooklyn’s version of that scene.
Opened back in 1900 (I believe just before Bloomberg took office), Bamonte’s is a full throwback to old New York. As in OLD New York. Think white table cloths, waiters in tuxedos, and as much talk about family in Rome and Naples as Manhattan. And while its Williamsburg hood certainly changed over the last hundred-plus, the dining room at Bamonte’s has remained essentially the same. Walk in, forget about the homless guy outside in the Comme des Garçons t-shirt, and channel a time when red sauce ruled the world.
There aren't many rules when it comes to a meal at Bamonte’s, but there are a few that are very important to follow. First, the owners go on extended vacations in the summer and close down. Always call to confirm that they are open before you bring four friends here on our word. Second, don't eat anything for breakfast or lunch when coming here for dinner. The phrase "I'm not sure I can, I'm stuffed" has no place in this joint. This meal is about getting in touch with your inner Tony Soprano and eating as if you have four stomachs and no body issues. Third, you are going to enjoy more than one course, so get comfortable. Avoid starting dinner at 10pm and maybe leave your skinny jeans (and Comme des Garçons t-shirt) at home. For this meal, you're going to need some boxy trousers, a loosely buttoned dress shirt, suspenders, and a pack of unfiltered Camel cigarettes. And probably four stomachs.
Baby eggplant roll-ups filled with cheese, breadcrumbs, and sweet and tangy tomato sauce. A very good bite to start off a meal, and a must if you aren't planning to order eggplant any other way.
Baked Clams Oreganata
Yes. Shhh. Yessss. A definite.
Prosciutto & Melon
Good meat, good melon. This probably won't blow you away, but it's a staple and definitely won't disappoint.
Arugula, Radicchio & Endive Salad
This tri-color salad is the best of the bunch. It's kind of silly to fill up on veg at this place, but this is a nice, bitter-but-refreshing salad that is a solid share for the table. That said, if you refuse to spend any effort chewing through non-meat/pasta dishes, we understand.
A dish of massive handmade cheese ravioli, served swimming in a tomato-meat sauce. Think of a less thick bolognese. The ravioli are aces, but the sauce...my god, the sauce. I don't think Buzzfeed or Zagat has a list up yet, but it's gotta be a top ravioli in the city. There's really no way to know until then.
If you like lasagna (obviously you do), you are gonna love this version. Prepped a few ways - ask the waiter - each will scratch that 'zagna itch. Order with supreme confidence.
This is your normal linguine vongole, save for how beyond normally delicious it is. That sentence barely makes sense, and we really don't care because we're still in a daze just thinking about this pasta. Al dente linguine, a big handful of clams, fresh parsley, and a knockout sauce all make this one of the best we can remember eating.
Most parms are chicken, veal, or eggplant. And Bamonte’s has a great version of each. But don't sleep on the shrimp, which gives any of the other three a solid run. Seafood and cheese don't always mix, but this combo works damn well. Ignore it at your peril.
An Infatuation favorite. Pounded thin and covered in arugula and chopped tomatoes (both of which can be held to the side if you want), this dish does the trick every single time. Unlike so many other versions around town, you can actually taste and appreciate the veal - and lord knows we appreciate it. Thank you for your sacrifice, young animal.
Pork Chop Alla Bamonte
A house special, this is a big boy pork chop topped with your choice of hot or sweet vinegar peppers. It's a lot of food, but it's worth a share if you can convince another tablemate or a family of six to join in on the fun. Or just order solo and bring the leftovers home, assuming you have one of those standup freezers to store them in.
If you have room, you're a freak. But even freaks deserve sweets. Tiramisu and Tartufo are fan favorites, but just get whatever sounds right on any given night.