Since 1999, Il Fornetto has welcomed guests with sweeping waterfront views of Sheepshead Bay and its beautiful swans, coupled with a delicious and thorough menu of cuisine that touches on inspirations from across Italy and is prepared with care for Brooklynites of all tastes and backgrounds.
Settle into a seat inside the airy and sunlit/starlit dining room, which has its own well-stocked bar in addition to a separate full-bar area and peruse the a la carte menu, which offers more-or-less the same options, in different portion sizes, for lunch (noon to 4 p.m. daily) and dinner. There are also prix fixe menus ($13.95/$26.95) available on weekdays.
Options include wood-fired brick-oven pizza, antipasti, soup and salad, a raw bar, pasta, and entrees of seafood, chicken, veal, and steak.
The Paesana Pizza ($15) includes a great mix of toppings and flavors, with freshly imported mozzarella, cremini mushrooms, shaved prosciutto, arugula, and shaved parmigiano cheese all atop a perfect, thin-but-not-limp crust that both supports and complements the flavors.
Every appetizer is unique and inspired, but if you can only sample a few of them, then we suggest trying the Calamari Fritti ($15), the Misto al Fornetto ($15), and the Indivia ($10).
The curls of fried domestic-raised squid/calamari come lightly battered and pleasantly chewy, with a side of mildly spicy red sauce. The Misto sampler consists of freshly baked eggplant rollatini, stuffed baby mushroom caps, baked clams, and shrimp oreganata; everything tastes fresh and with clearly flavors, and the tender shrimp comes butterflied and in a coat of breadcrumbs.
Meanwhile, the Indivia salad stands out as much for its ingredients roasted beets and endives as for its solid beet-red color, thanks to the red beet dressing that lightly coats everything, making this dish a refreshing palate cleanser.
Among the entrees, the Delizie del Mare ($28) is a must-try, with half a fresh Maine lobster, butterflied shrimp, clams, mussels, sea scallops and spaghetti, all tossed in a light tomato sauce. Everything is meaty and tender, and the dish even comes with amusing plastic seafood bibs to tie around your neck before taking a crack at the lobster shell.
There is also the Pollo Farcito ($19/$21), a platter of chicken breast rolls stuffed with asparagus, red bell pepper and Swiss cheese, all drenched in a Madeira wine sauce, and served with steamed vegetables of the day.
For dessert, there is everything from imported Italian sorbet and classic Tiramisu (both $7) to fried bananas with a sweet cinnamon crust ($8) and warm chocolate cake ($8) that oozes a gooey soft center and comes with a scoop of vanilla gelato.
Some other homemade desserts worth trying are the homemade Italian cheesecake with raspberry coulis and Apple Pizzetta (both $8), which is a brick-oven baked pizza crust topped with caramel, amaretto-marinated apples and vanilla gelato.
Everything at Il Fornetto is worth the price and a return trip. Enjoy!
2902 Emmons Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11235
Open daily at noon; Sunday to Thursday to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday to midnight
Lunch to 4 p.m.; Daily specials and prix fixe available
Delivery to 11235, 11223, and 11229