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Dining Out: Northern Italian dining in Sunnyside

Dazie’s Restaurant

39-41 Queens Blvd.

Sunnyside

786-7013

On Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside, you'll find an elegant Italian Restaurant with a most un-Italian name. The more appropriate “El Gondola” and “El Venizia” had been considered. But, when the Gavin family bought it, Mazie’s was already spelled out elaborately in electric lights. So it was practical (and infinitely less costly) just to change the “M” to a “D.” It clicked! It has been Dazie's for 20 years. Besides, Mama Gavin’s name was Lilly and daisies were her favorite flower.

Dazie’s has a fresh, newly decorated look. Let's call it Roman. There’s a bust of a high Roman priest prominently displayed on high. There’s a charming foyer and bar area as you enter complete with baby grand. Wednesdays to Sundays the music there is live.

The two-level restaurant has warm sand color walls. On the back tier, there’s a ledge with a bust and vases. A private party was going on in an adjoining room that’s used on Friday and Saturday nights for dining.

Shimmering votive candles are on each table. Waiters bustle about. Sinatra seranades you on the hi-fi system. It’s a class operation.

The young maitre’d delivers his specials recitative. We are impressed with the salads which are offered in lieu of an appetizer selection. There are two, so there’s one for each of us. My dining companion opts for the avocado and crab salad with chopped tomato and field salad for greens. I am smitten by the roasted red pepper, smoked mozzarella number. The servings are mammoth, presented on large service plates. The avocado is perfectly ripened. The smaller-than-usual tomato pieces taste more delicious than I am used to. The delicate field salad greens, the darling of the salad course at the moment, make me think of my grandmother who grew them in her Queens garden.

My salad is just as large, and bears a delightful combination of flavors with a good dressing. The accompanying bread is a Italian with ample sesame seeds, in thin slices.

We ask the waiter to let us pause and savor the salad before proceeding. He accommodates. My companion’s choice is another special, Chilean sea bass, filleted, topped with sauce. It is exceedingly salty. The vegetable combo on the side delights: cauliflower, broccoli, green beans and carrot with cubed browned potatoes.

I am into pasta tonight. It is fetuccini, and it has been a long, long, time. I am looking forward to a bit of something difficult to achieve with say, rigatoni. The sauce is admirable, a pink vodka sauce with wine plus smoked salmon, roasted red peppers and capers. A large, fresh, solitary basil leaf accents it.

The long dessert cart that stands at the entrance to the dining room is wheeled over. There are four large cakes: a multi berry tart (imported from Italy), a layered chocolate mousse cake, a raspberry-glazed cheesecake and an Italian cheesecake dusted with confectioner’s sugar. My dining companion is impressed by the colorful raspberry and blackberry tart. I have the ricotta cheese cake which is on the sweet side, and made the way they are interpreting Italian cheesecake today - soft and creamy. My espresso is served with a twist of lemon as it was back then, and with a rock candy swizzle. I do not use sugar in my coffee but with a swizzle, why not dip and sip the bitter espresso from the swizzle once or twice?

Take note, unless you have deep pockets, ask the price of the specials or order from the menu. It too, carries fine Northern Italian dining. The executive chef, Berto, studied in both Croatia and Italy. He made his way to the states and worked in prominent restaurants in Manhattan

The Bottom Line

An elegant Northern Italian resturant. Fine food and service. Piano music in foyer/bar Wednesday to Sunday. Private room for parties of 25 to 75. Impressive wine list.

Chef’s Choice

Avocado w/ 5 Leaf Salad (artichokes, tomato, walnuts, basalmic dressing)...$10.95

Hot Veal Tonato (topped w/ tuna, capers and mayo)...$11.95

Penne w/sausages, broccoli rabe, sundried tomato, garlic, white wine...$14.95

Rigatoni á la Vodka w/ chunks of chicken...$15.95

Pollo w/ tomatoes, mozzarella, asparagus, shallots w/ sherry...$15.95

Veal Scallopine á la Capri (w/ fresh tomato, proscuitto, mozzarella cheese, marinara sauce, touch of brown

gravy) $0.00

Red Snapper w/ hearts of palm, asparagus, sundried tomatoes, garlic in white wine...$22.95

Cuisine: Northern Italian

Setting: Roman elegance

Service: Professional

Hours: D 7 days. Businessman's L, M to F

Reservations: Weekends

Parking: Municipal under “El.” Valet Fri & Sat

Located: Sunnyside/LIC

Dress: Casual

Credit cards: All major. No Discover

Children: Small servings

Private parties: 25 to 50

Off premise catering: Yes

Takeout: Yes

Smoking: Foyer/bar area

Music: Piano in foyer/bar Wed to Sun

Off-premise catering: Yes

Noise level: Low to moderate

Handicap access: Yes

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