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Tricolorii: Tricolorii in Sunnyside serves up menu from the Old Country

TRICOLORII

47-53 43rd St., Sunnyside

361-0700

Let's make it a European experience tonight - Romania, to be exact.

In Sunnyside, there's an Eastern European enclave. Fittingly, the streets are lined with rows of red-brick houses. A year ago Tricolorii (so named because the flag - yellow, red and blue - is three colors) opened as a Rumanian restaurant and cafe. In the European tradition people like to gather there to sit and chat over a drink.

In the summer there are a goodly number of tables outdoors where supper is eaten while the world strides by - sari-clad women included.

We opted to sit inside with its side-to-side glass window and a broadside view of all that happens alfresco plus Rumanian music loud and clear in the background. One wall has a 6-by-6 hanging of a ballet scene in Romania's athenaeum.

There is just one waitress - from Romania, of course, as is the chef - who manages to unflappingly take care of the assembled. Her sky-blue eye shadow matched the shirt she wore precisely and almost matched the blue glow emanating from the glass and brick bar in the rear. And the Christmas decorations seemed in keeping.

I was excited to find mamaliga on the menu. Picture this: three scoops of creamy polenta, three scoops of sour cream.

She with the heavenly blue shadow, never asked, "Feta or porcine?" Feta it was, grated on top. Sheer bliss, reminding me of when as a youngster, I'd sit with a container of sour cream and savor it slowly, spoonful by spoonful (before I realized that sour cream had as many calories as whipping cream).

There were other delights. The eggplant spread, ultra smooth and light, was served with chopped red onions and halved, sliced tomatoes on the side. A chicken liver appetizer was not a spread, but sauteed. Roasted peppers with garlic sauce sounded tempting. And as a salad there were carrots, white cabbage and celery root in a creamy white dressing which should be super. Rumanians like tripe soup and it's listed; there's a meatball soup as well.

My dinner companion had a trout entree liberally coated with paprika and accompanied by creamy mashed potatoes. I had mititei, the Rumanian skinless sausage. I savored its garliciness. It reminded me of kabobs in India in appearance and flavor. Unfortunately, I didn't notice the side dishes. There were pickled vegetables and fried zucchini with garlic and a cabbage salad that I'd like to try. Three of the four sausages went home with me. They made excellent sandwiches on a sesame seeded Kaiser roll with lettuce (coleslaw would be great) and another day with cold sauerkraut on an onion roll.

Stuffed cabbage made with beef and pork, served with rice, is on the menu -- it's something else I'd like to try at Tricolorii.

Dessert was crepes for her - very nice with two different fillings. Doughnuts for me. These, set side-by-side on a plate, was "sinker" shrouded with sour cream and a dab of apricot preserve (oh, so good) on one and blackberry jam on the other. With it Turkish coffee made differently and served in a large cup. It is a cross between Turkish and American and I'm all for it.

In Romania they serve Tuica, a plum brandy, before and after the meal. Perhaps you'll want a sip or two.

Queens is a great place to dine. The world is on your plate.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Rumanian restaurant and cafe. Sidewalk dining in season. Rumanian music. Favorite Rumanian dishes. Nice service.

CHEF'S CHOICE

De Vente (eggplant spread with red onion & tomatoes)...$4.95

Corba de Nuta (Rumanian favorite, tripe soup)...$3.95

Sarmale (stuffed cabbage with beef & pork & rice)...$8.95

Mititei (Rumanian skinless sausage with french fries)...$7.50

Friptura de Pore La Gratar (grilled boneless pork chop served with mashed potatoes)...$10.95

Lady Di (tiramisu)...$3.95

Crepes $3.95

Cuisine: Rumanian

Service: Charming

Hours: L & D 7 days

Reservations: Yes

Dress: Casual

Takeout: Yes

Private parties: To 100

Smoking: Two tables

Noise level: Moderate

Handicapped access: Yes

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