Ciro's 107 began life with the name Patsy's, in honor of co-owners Edward and Andrew Arnone's late uncle. Before the brothers had served so much as a strand of linguine, the cozy trattoria found itself being sued for a large pot of clams by the owners of Patsy's Italian Restaurant in Manhattan. These days, the place is known as Ciro's 107 -- "Ciro's" in honor of another late uncle, "107" (its address) to thwart lawsuits from places such as Ciro's Italian Restaurant in Charlotte, N.C. or Ciro's Italian Bistro in Stroudsberg, Pa.
Chef Edward Arnone, whose background is in family-style Italian restaurants, serves main course portions that tend toward enormity. Prices are generally moderate.
One wintry night, a big bowl of rich and herbal minestrone hit the spot. It was hardly what I'd expected after the banal basket of supermarket-quality bread.
On another visit, our waiter spooned a buttery sauce atop baked clams, the tender meat crowned with bread crumbs. Sauteed spinach, listed as an appetizer, was bright green, garlicky but a bit watery.
A signature entree called chicken a la Ciro's, at $25, served two, according to the menu. What we got was a delicious mountain of pan-roasted bone-in chicken, sausage, potatoes, peppers, onions and broccoli, a rustic, colorful dish that could handily have fed three or four. Bone-in chicken scarpariello was one more standout, the meat infused with lemon, garlic and an intriguing smokiness.
A finicky friend was justifiably delighted with her veal Valdostana -- thin breaded cutlets topped with prosciutto and mozzarella in a savory mushroom, onion and Marsala wine sauce.
Shrimp Luciano, another special, featured sauteed shrimp and clams in a white wine, plum tomato and garlic sauce over linguine, everything fresh and melding well, but linguine with clam sauce -- a melange of out-of-the shell clams, garlic and oil -- didn't come together as harmoniously. Penne alla vodka was satisfying, the creamy pink sauce studded with small cubes of pancetta.
Two house-made desserts -- a lush and boozy wedge of tiramisu and an ethereal napoleon blanketed with freshly whipped cream -- made for truly grand finales. In this litigious world, Arnone should consider copyrighting the recipes.
Reviewed by Joan Reminick, 12/23/05.