Serafino: 196-50 Northern Boulevard;
Cuisine: Modern Italian
Handicapped Accessible: Yes
Hours: Sun. to Thurs. 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Fri. to Sat. 12 p.m. to
Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club
Last summer I took a took a tour of Italy and experienced the splendor and variety of
Italys culinary delights. The other day I merely had to cross Northern Boulevard to
experience comparable joy, served family-style with a tint of experimentation and
Yet neither the food nor the atmosphere at Serafino conjures any images of
"old" or "dated." Instead, the atmosphere lends for a vivacious blend
of the best that Queens and Italy have to offer. Two rooms, which combined seat
approximately 135 people, offer plenty of space to spread out and dig in. Lamps hanging
down from the ceiling and candles along the walls create fairly bright lighting, but not
so bright that it is blinding. And the shiny wood floors and even shinier marble tables
create a polished elegance.
What reminded me most of my meals in Italy was how each course was an event. Although
my guest and I were tempted to fill up on the freshly baked bread, we managed to sample a
little bit of everything. A wide selection of Antipasti is available for $8 each. I
started out with the Ensalada Vista ($4), topped with a spicy house dressing, while my
guest enjoyed the chicken soup Straccitella Ala Romana, made with spinach and white egg
and covered with fresh, melt-in-your-mouth cheese.
For the main course we tried the chicken and the veal specials. Both were eclectic
dishes spruced with vegetables, spinach mashed potatoes, and sundried tomatoes. Served
with mozzarella cheese and cheese-filled tomatoes, the veal featured a particularly tasty
artichoke which further emphasized the meals variety of tastes.
But dessert soon pushed dinner to the back of our minds. After a brief perusal of
Serafinos ample dessert menu, my guest and I went for the chocolate mousse and
cheesecake. Both dishes, served with a strawberry-on-top, were far superior to average
cheesecake/chocolate mousse fare. We finished with ear-to-ear smiles.
After dinner, co-owner Greg Kalamras, a Queens native and graduate of St. Johns
University, gave us a tour of the cooking and preparation area. I saw the staff hard at
work, baking fresh, homemade bread and stirring Serafinos special sauces.
But everything was not always this way. Kalamrass partner, Serafino Vescio, owned
Lennys Clam Bar, the restaurant which used to occupy this space. Creating Serafino
was a long and difficult process which involved stripping everything bare to the walls and
adding a second room and more kitchen space.
The effort was well worth it. Serafino has friendly service, moderate prices, and great
food. They also cater private affairs at the restaurant and theme-cater at private houses
or businesses. Right next door there are 40 parking spaces and during the weekends there
is room for 75 cars. Afternoon specials and dinner prix fixe specials are also available.
So if youre looking for good Italian food with a little twist, Serafino may be the