By Patty Kane
After reading a 5 star review in a local publication and seeing a 4 ½ star rating on Yelp, I was really looking forward to finding out what all the buzz is about.
I have come to the conclusion that there is no need to get on a plane and fly to New York or Italy to get fantastic, five star Italian food. I found it right here in the Bay Area. Brooklyn Phil has always had a childhood dream of owning a restaurant and serving all the dishes he loved growing up in Brooklyn. His dream has come true.
With the assistance of renowned and world class chef, Andrea Gaspercic, Phil has put together a restaurant unique to our area. Located at 1105 Clear Lake City Blvd., I found the interior welcoming and family friendly. The atmosphere lends itself to a great place for a romantic dinner and also a venue for celebrations, a casual lunch or just a place to stop by on the way home from work. Phil told me that some of his happiest memories were spent at the local pizzeria in Brooklyn and he wants his customers to have that same great food and comforting experience.
I found the reasonable prices do not reflect the high quality of the food. That quality of cuisine is the result of having Chef Andrea overlooking every detail of the menu and recipes that are served. As Phil puts it, “We serve five star food at three star prices.”
Phil’s strong sense of community and giving back also reflects his childhood experience. He wants his restaurant to be a haven where people from every walk of life and economic position can feel at home with family and friends.
Chef Andrea and Brooklyn Phil have formed a wonderful partnership based on the love of fresh, creative and authentic Italian cuisine. Chef Andrea, a graduate of the Italian Culinary Institute, was born in Trieste, Italy, near Venice. He uses recipes passed down from his family in Italy and is a master at creating new dishes. Not satisfied with serving the same thing over and over again, Chef Andrea loves experimenting with new flavors, spice combinations and recipes, while still preserving the traditional Italian flavors that Brooklyn and Italy are known for.
Looking at the extensive menu I was impressed to find it features traditional Italian dishes as well as selections and creations of Chef Andrea. There are starters to get you ready for things to come: salads, home made soups and the “Brooklyn Favorites” main dishes featuring everything you would expect if you were sitting in a restaurant in Brooklyn or better still, in a lovely café in Italy. Other menu items include Pizza, available also by the slice, Calzones and Paninis. Is anyone hungry yet?
Plate of Prosciutto was the first dish I tried and it was one of my favorites. It is an excellent light starter. The prosciutto is imported from Chef Andrea’s home town in northeast Italy and in my opinion…the perfect way to start your meal! Five Stars!
Stuffed Mushrooms came next. Filled with a combination of romano, mozzarella, salami, ham, shrimp, lump crab meat, spinach, bread crumbs and served with a creamy mushroom sauce, they were some of the best stuffed mushrooms I ever tasted …absolutely divine! Five Stars!
Sheepshead Bay Mussels are one of my favorite things. These were the freshest mussels you can imagine and bathed in a spectacular white wine garlic sauce, served with fresh bread and seasoned with rosemary, garlic and other spices…to die for. Need I say more? Five Stars!
Brooklyn Heights Pork Tenderloin caught me by surprise because it was so tender. It was sauced in a rosemary white wine demi glace with a side of garlic mashed potatoes. The combination of the tenderloin, sauce, and potatoes made for a hearty meal…a piece of heaven on a plate! Five Stars!
Casarecce Delia Casa is a dish I thought was a particularly original and exciting creation by Chef Andrea. A creamy, smooth dish with twists of pasta tossed in a saffron cream sauce, prosciutto and asparagus…an unbelievable experience for my palate! Five Stars!
UFO Pizza was a delight for my taste buds. It is definitely a pizza lover’s classic treat. This double stuffed pizza does resemble a flying saucer. I loved how it was stuffed with salami, ham, mushrooms, eggplant, green peppers and a selection of cheeses…the ultimate pizza experience! Five Stars!
These are only a few samplings of the menu items you will find at Brooklyn Phil’s. Catering is available and of course there is a selection of desserts, wine and beer. Please save room for the Tiramisu. It was a great finish to my tasting. No Italian meal is complete without it and Chef Andrea’s is the best this side of Brooklyn. The service I received was great. So combined with the outstanding food, lovely atmosphere and very reasonable prices, I have to give my dining experience a 5 star rating all around. For more information call 832-284-4767 or go to www.brooklynphils.com.