Monday, January 30, 2012

Family Fun, Italian Style

Bob and Pat Brodsky were celebrating their 53rd wedding annivesary (!) and they invited us to join them for dinner at Scardino's, 4803 Torrance Boulevaard, Torrance 310-542-2222. It's an old favorite that, for one reason or another, they haven't visited lately.

It's situated in a strip mall and it's been there in one form or another for the past 25 years. Originally, it was a take-out place, but six years ago, the previous tenant left and they were able to buy the space that is now their dining room.

It's a smallish room, longer than it is wide, with framed posters marching down the long wall. Wooden tables and chairs, immaculate white table linen, and almost every table had a group of people - not just couples dotted around the room. Pat pointed to a big table in the back and said it was the family table. It was in use that night and people were roaring with laughter and yelling at one another in great glee all over the restaurant. It struck me momentarily as kind of a rowdy Thanksgiving dinner with all of the relatives.

They were doing a good business when we got there, but because Bob had made a reservation, we were seated immediately. The three of them decided to share a bottle of chianti and when the waiter uncorked it at the table, I asked, "Does it have to breathe or do we just wrestle it to death in the glass?" which made him laugh and say, "Yes, let it breathe."

Finally decisions had been made. Pat ordered the eggplant parmesan; Richie chicken cacciatore, Bob the "half and half" of meat ravioli and spaghetti marinara. I asked the waiter if their small Caesar salad came garnished with anchovies and his face fell, then brightened -- "No, but I can add some" in a hopeful voice. I made a horrific face and mimed crossing myself and this amused him so much that he burst out laughing, bent over our table. When we all got calm, the food began to arrive. My cappelini with meat sauce was outstanding. The chef, who arrived six years ago, has absolutely mastered meat sauce.

All of it was very good and the portions were enormous. So much so that Bob was the only one of us not to ask for a doggy bag.

A bottle of chianti, a glass of pinot grigio, and four entrees came to $100 plus $20 tip. We will definitely go back and feel we're now rich -- TWO excellent Italian places from which to choose. (Charlie's, formerly Cialucci's, is the other.) Our Italian family is growing.

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