BY HELEN KLEIN & ANNA SPIVAK
If you like your tradition with a side of red sauce, then Colandrea New Corner Restaurant is exactly your cup of minestrone.
The Dyker Heights eatery, founded in 1936 by the owners’ grandparents, is still cooking up southern Italian specialties the old-fashioned way – based on cherished recipes inherited from the restaurant’s founders who immigrated to this country from Naples.
“We try not to change,” noted Vinny Colandrea, who owns New Corner with brother Steven. “We try to keep the food consistent.”
The recipe is clearly a successful one. “The neighborhood has changed, but our customers keep coming back,” Colandrea added.
There’s good reason. The spacious restaurant – which has expanded over the decades from its original location as a corner pizzeria to seat 280 people – offers an extensive menu of Italian specialties, prepared just the way Nonna would have made them.
From the thick slices of Bruschetta ($7.50) – topped with basil-inflected chopped tomatoes and an unctuous blanket of melted mozzarella – which started the meal, to the elegant desserts, everything we tasted was fresh and authentic.
For appetizers, we enjoyed the Eggplant Rollatine ($11) and the Shrimp Oreganata ($19.75).The eggplant was cooked to perfection, boasting thin slices of baked eggplant stuffed with sweet and soft ricotta cheese.
As for the shrimp, they were amazingly tender, with a crunchy topping of gorgeously garlicky breadcrumbs spiked with oregano, flecked with fresh parsley and with a wedge of lemon to add tang.
The pasta course was next. This everything-authentically-Italian joint serves up homemade Ravioli ($11.75) stuffed sparingly with soft ricotta cheese, all swimming in a sea of sweet tomato sauce, to hit all the bases of signature Italian flavor.
The Fettuccine alla Nonna ($18.75) featured fresh ribbons of al dente fettuccine bathed luxuriously in a decadently buttery cream sauce studded with tender whole shrimp, peas and broccoli florets.
We sampled two main dishes: Chicken alla Vincenzo ($18.50) and Veal Scaloppine Pizzaiola with Mushrooms ($19.25). The succulent veal was literally so tender it could be cut with a spoon. It was a delight to eat, the tomato sauce chock-full of mushroom slices providing a contrast in texture and flavor to the pan-seared veal.
As for the chicken, this house specialty featuring boneless chicken breasts stuffed with mozzarella and prosciutto begs to be eaten. Combining a range of salty flavors and soft textures, it will have you saying, magnifico.
The dishes both came with a pair of sides – creamy on the inside, breaded potato croquettes that were as light as they were satisfying, and garlic-infused broccoli rabe that added just the perfect note of bitter in contrast to the rich main dish.
For dessert, we indulged in New Corner’s delightful Tiramisu ($6.25) and the equally scrumptious Zabaglione ($8.75). The Tiramisu was light, sweet but not overly so, built on a bed of coffee-drenched ladyfingers and topped with whipped cream. The Zabaglione, served in a martini glass, combined a Marsala-spiked custard with slices of strawberry. Yum!
Besides the a la carte menu, New Corner offers four-course Fish Friday menus for $29, as well as four-course $26.95 dinner specials from 3-10 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, including a glass of wine or soda, and Feel Good Thursdays, featuring a seven-course meal plus wine or soda for $31.
There are also lunch specials — $21.75 for a four-course meal plus a glass of wine or soda, and a three-course lite lunch special for $16.75.
COLANDREA NEW CORNER RESTAURANT
7201 Eighth Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11228
Sunday-Thursday, noon-10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, noon-11 p.m.
Party room; in-house catering available