This is the second Mio Posto. The original is in Oceanside. If they ever open a third, consider the squid an endangered species and a run on mozzarella imminent.
Whether served family-style or in half-portions, a staggering amount of these staples is consumed here. Mio Posto is an especially generous, fairly priced place for Italian-American fare. More important, it's often very good, sometimes better.
Despite butter in gold packets and forgettable bread, any spot that starts dinner with gratis sauteed peppers and onions this tasty has to put you in a sunny mood.
The crowded dining room, where a staff-led vocal of "Happy Birthday" may erupt anytime, inspires high-decibel dialogue under the crystal chandelier, some directed to the widescreen TV's sport of the moment.
Diners-in-waiting near the entrance and in the bar area may be inspired to dance to the house's background music, with "Stayin' Alive" a big hit. Everyone is having a good time.
You will be, too, after diving into the Mio Posto Sunday Sauce, a hefty, well-made platter of meatballs, sausages and braciole in tomato sauce. Or igniting the festivities with a fiery-as-requested lobster fra diavolo.
Before getting into the main dishes, however, try the ample stuffed mushrooms and, yes, those fried calamari, best finished arrabbiata, or truly hot and angry. The insalata Mio Posto, with Gorgonzola cheese, cranberries, walnuts, tomatoes and red onions tossed with greens, is on the sweet side, but it's a respectable foil.
Eight types of pasta are available eight different ways for fans of mix-and-match. Rigatoni all'Amatriciana is a full-bodied pick. Linguine with white clam sauce toasts the garlic a bit too long. When in doubt, veer red.
Therefore: an extra-large chicken alla Parmigiana to satisfy the entire soccer team. Eggplant Parm also is recommended. You can go the Marsala, Sorrentino and Francaise routes with shrimp, chicken or veal.
But consider an excellent, dry-aged 16-ounce sirloin, accompanied by sauteed onions and a baked potato. Or the duet of thick, grilled center-cut pork chops on a pile of sweet and hot peppers, onions and roasted potatoes.
For a lighter course, enjoy well-seasoned, broiled sole oreganata with mesclun. Escarole, broccoli rabe, spinach and cauliflower all receive the professional oil-and-garlic treatment as sides.
Desserts include ice cream in tartufo form, and rich cannoli, which don't have the traditional tubular shape. Each is more like a horn of plenty. Makes sense.