Though many restaurants have come and gone
along the Route 110 corridor, there seems to be only one establishment that has
consistently provided the area with fine Italian dining decade after decade.
This Melville landmark restaurant is of course Cirella’s, which has been
owned and operated for generations by the Cirella Family.
at the helm of this superb Italian eatery is the father and son team of Sal &
Dean Cirella. They can usually be found conversing with regulars as well as warmly
welcoming new customers. Dean is a very
hands-on restaurateur that leaves nothing to chance. On many occasions we have
spotted Dean’s father, Sal Cirella also overseeing every last detail. In fact,
you’ll always find a member of the Cirella family on premise.
While many restaurants under go long over
due “renovation”, Cirella’s seems to always be in a constant state of
innovation. Cirella’s has offered
whole wheat pasta options, plate sharing at no additional charge, and small to large
sized portions well before any of this became popular.
the previous time we visited the restaurant they had just added French doors and
outdoor tables for seasonal dining. Now their most recent innovation is the addition
of a brand new sushi bar at their flagship Melville location.
We should have seen it coming,
their Walt Whitman Mall restaurant has been serving some of the best sushi on Long
Island to critical acclaim for over 5 years. Actually, Cirella’s was voted one of
the top 5 sushi restaurants on Long Island.
restaurant has a red brick exterior and elegant French doors that beckon customers
from the busy street. Upon entering Cirella’s, you are greeted by a well-appointed
contemporary dining room. The granite bar, which is stocked with a wide assortment
including about a half dozen fine ports, is located adjacent to the dining room.
If you opt
to linger at the bar for a cocktail, you will enjoy the plate of torn, crusty bread,
jagged chunks of Pecorino, and Calamata olives in a slightly spicy oil that engages
the taste buds. This will be the perfect foil for your first libation. If your
having trouble choosing what cocktail to enjoy their barkeeper will be quick to
assist you with your end of day cravings.
appetizer we sampled was the Caprese, (below left) which consisted of some of the
freshest and most delicious mozzarella, vine ripe tomatoes, roasted red peppers
& grilled eggplant you have ever tasted.
Then we had
the Calamari Fritti (fried Calamari, above right) which are made to order and served
“fra diavlo”, marinara or Cirella style. These calamari were very tender
no matter which sauce you ordered. Our favorite was the Cirella style, which was not
overly spicy and served with a cherry pepper sauce.
Customers can order the Calamari marinara on the sweeter side or the
fra-diavlo with the spicy kick.
Portobello Tower was layered with creamy mozzarella and roasted red peppers and
finished with a balsamic glaze. The
elements combined splendidly and created a truffle-like fragrance.
The Mozzarella Fritti (Fried Mozzarella, below left) was abundantly breaded, pleasantly crunchy and served with a traditional tomato sauce.
Shrimp Cocktail (Gamberi Traditional,
above right) had beautiful colossal
shrimp cooked to perfection and accompanied by a sweet and slightly spicy
horseradish cocktail sauce.
kitchen has taken their interpretation of the classic Italian chopped salad and
created the Cirella Salad (below left). It
featured a medley of cheeses, tomatoes, celery, chickpeas, romaine and iceberg
lettuce, and cracked, marinated olives that gave the salad a salty and semi-spicy
our favorites was the Paese Salad (above right) with
mesculin greens, candied walnuts, dried
cranberries, sliced apples & gorgonzola cheese, drizzled with honey mustard.
This salad was as beautiful as it was delicious.
The Insalata Sicilian (below left) was a
rather simple concoction of vine ripe tomato, red onion, gorgonzola, calamata olives
& balsamic vinaigrette that is sure to stimulate your taste buds.
Gamberoni Oreganata (above right) was comprised of succulent broiled jumbo shrimp
with well-seasoned breadcrumbs over sautéed escarole, tomato, garlic & oil.
One of the
specials we sampled was the homemade Ravioli (below left) filled with sun-dried
tomatoes and fontina, sautéed in an anisette cream sauce.
They were presented over spinach and finished with julienne red peppers. The
anisette cream sauce made these house-made ravioli truly exceptional.
Costoletta Di Bracioletta (above right) was a traditional pork cutlet rolled with
prosciutto and mozzarella, then breaded, pan fried, served over sautéed spinach,
hot cherry peppers, mushrooms, in a marsala wine sauce. This dish was a hearty and
impressive entrée with cheese seeping from the tender, rolled pork.
roasted Salmon (below left) with a horseradish crust was served over roasted root
vegetables, and finished with a citrus buerre blanc. This salmon dish was
beautifully presented with enticing colors and delivered a moist, fresh taste, which
the sauce perfectly complimented.
Chicken Scarpariello (above right) was a hearty interpretation of this traditional
dish. A unique flavor and richness was added to the chicken by featuring an
abundance of peppers, onions and sausages in an intense and flavorful sauce.
standout selection was their Veal Parmigiana (Costoletta
Di Vitello Parmigiana, below left),
served on the bone. This perfectly breaded and pan-fried veal chop was by far
one of the best we have ever tasted.
The dessert menu was a fine collection of
classic favorites. Cognac, Grappa, Brandy, Port and Sherry are also offered to
complement these sweet endings. The kitchen delivered an impressive and well-prepared
adaptation of the classic Crème Brulee (above right). Creamy,
smooth custard paired with a thin, crisp, caramelized sugar shell was a satisfyingly
sweet combination of flavor and texture. Their Italian Cheesecake (below left) and Tiramisu
(below right) were
also spot on.
What Cirella’s represents is truly the
“Pride of Italian Cooking” with impeccable service. This restaurant is a genuine
Italian classic with an innovative side perfectly adapted for the well-seasoned
diner that knows a quality establishment when they see one.
It’s not only the great food that will
keep you coming back, it’s also the great time you’ll have while you’re
there...you’ll feel like family! To owners Dean Cirella and his father Sal,
nothing is more important than making you feel at home while you enjoy their made to
order Italian food and fresh sushi.
Cirella’s is a versatile establishment that lends itself to any occasion. It could serve as the perfect site for a small business meeting, dinner with friends and family, or a romantic evening.