The Montesano family started their journey in cooking 6 decades ago. Steven and Sammy, along with their sisters Toniann and Lucille had the good fortune to receive recipes from their aunts, Irene, Caroline and Jo. They also got their teaching from their Father, Sammy Sr. Montesano, who opened numerous butcher shops and fish markets in Bronx, New York. It was however, the humble beginnings of their Uncle who collected junk metal that allowed the brothers and their sisters to eat healthy and appreciate life as it was presented to them.
Montesano’s Italian Restaurant and Bakery has been serving locals and tourist for the past 20 years. Thousands of families have enjoyed becoming part of the Montesano family. ‘Folks become part of our family and as our slogan states,’ Where Love Has Taste’, states Steven Montesano. Due to the popularity of their restaurant and bakery, Montesano’s is expanding their facility and adding a full cocktail bar. It will add more versatility to its already Italian ambience.
Culinary Delights: My guest Mark Richards the creator, producer and director of “Battle of the Bars” on Fox 5 at 12:00am on Sunday, joined Stephen and Sammy. Beginning with Tortellini soup, prepared daily by Sammy with spinach and fresh cut carrots, this set the stage, with a selection of their homemade breads and homemade butter. Our second course consisted of Caprice salad, where Sammy also makes his own Buffalo mozzarella with freshly cut juicy California tomatoes.
With great gusto and much laughter, our main courses were served by Amy Carvelo, a friend of the family for 35 years who has been serving food at Montesano’s for 15 years. Amy was assisted by David Castillo, who was very helpful in explaining the menu to me when I first arrived. Served in glorious fashion were Lasagna, Florentine Franchise, Linguine and clams, and homemade sweet and hot Italian sausage.
Each of these dishes was superb. Here’s one of the reasons why the Lasagna was so delightful. It is made with three different cheeses, Ricotta, Parmesan and Provolone. Small curd cottage cheese, USDA Choice ground beef, tomato sauce, garlic cloves, a little sugar, Italian seasoning, some pepper, several organic eggs, fresh minced parsley, lasagna noodles, and some mozzarella cheese. Of course, the seasoning and other items Sammy uses are a family secret.
As for the other dishes, you’ll have to find out. The linguine and clams are cooked to order and the clams are flown in on ice and chopped up by Sammy. The Florentine Franchise is prepared in light with the Flounder, which is also flown in on ice. This dish is also very mouth watering, as the Flounder melts in your mouth. It is served over the Linguini. The sweet and sour sausage is prepared fresh on a daily basis to the strict family recipe.
Pizza: With a full tummy, I don’t know how Steven, Sammy, Mark and I could taste any more food delights. We did however try the Montesana House Special Pizza. Wow, the finest Pepperoni, sweet homemade sausage, meatballs, bell peppers, mushrooms and onions, all prepared with Montesano’s homemade high gluten dough, mixed with Seline flour.
For diabetics or those who prefer non gluten pizzas, Montesano’s has a variety of selections. One must also remember that depending on the oven type, depends on how the dough is prepared. Montesano’s bake their pizzas in a brick gas oven, which takes about 9 minutes.
A wood burning brick oven burns at 800-900 degrees and cooks a smaller pizza in about 2-3 minutes. The pizzas, including the cheese pizzas have a great taste. Sammy uses the finest ingredients. His tomatoes, he says, are just as delicious as any tomato from Italy, and he’s right.
Deserts: All the deserts, cookies, Ricotta cheesecake, New York cheesecake, creme Brule, Tiramisu and Chocolate Cannolis are prepared from the Montesano’s family recipe book. Delicious to say the least. Montesano’s Italian Restaurant and Bakery hours of operation are 11am-9pm Monday-Saturday. They’re located in the Eastern Crossing Shopping Center, at 9905 South Eastern Avenue. Call  870-3287 for anniversaries, catering, or a special event.
You may want to also take the Montesano Challenge and eat their 6 pounds of Lasagna in 30 minutes. Those who can accomplish the task eat free. Those who don’t pay $39.99. So, get a shirt and picture on their wall of fame, when you complete your task. Celebrity Scene News awards Montesano’s Italian Restaurant and Bakery 4 Stars for an excellent traditional Italian cuisine and a wonderful family ambiance. Tell them Pete sent ya!