By G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD On a Tuesday evening, traditionally a slow one for many restaurants, the tables at Typical Sicilian Ristorante are filling with people a testimony to the family-run restaurant's food and service.
A second generation of the Amore family presents an impressive menu of both classical Italian dishes and their own interpretations and clearly people love it. Claudia Amore, who runs the front of the house her brother Enzo is the chef told Reminder Publications Typical Sicilian will be noting its 14th anniversary on March 8.
Claudia said that the goal is to create a warm and homey atmosphere, which she called "casual chic."
The emphasis in the kitchen run by Enzo is on fresh ingredients and Claudia said that her brother turns down shipments of meat, fowl or fish that are not up to his standards. He also carries on the spirit of her father in experimenting with herbs and other ingredients to create a unique twist on a well-known dish.
The restaurant's Penne Typical is an example of such experimentation. Claudia explained that her father added teriyaki sauce to pasta sauce to create a truly different and delicious taste.
The "pizzettal" is also an example of the experimentation that is a hallmark of the restaurant. The night my wife and I went, the flatbread appetizer was topped with Italian sausage, broccoli rabe and cheese. Served on a long wooden serving board, the pizzettal was delicious. Claudia said her brother regularly changes the toppings.
Another appetizer was also a treat: slices of homemade mozzarella cheese layered with prosciutto di parma served with fresh tomatoes and olive oil.
After considerable deliberation, we selected our entrees: the Penne Typical and Fettuccini Gorgonzola. The first dish featured the restaurant's signature sauce with penne pasta, sautéed garlic, baby spinach and chopped grilled chicken.
The fettuccini dish also has grilled chicken with red bell peppers and onions with a gorgonzola rosé cream sauce.
Before our entrees arrived, we were served a simple salad of romaine lettuce that came with min-carafes of homemade gorgonzola and balsamic vinegar dressings.
Both my wife and I were impressed by our choices. Both dishes were generous in size and in the amount of chicken. The addition of teriyaki flavor in the Typical sauce was subtle but added a welcomed flavor twist and was perfect with the grilled chicken.
The gorgonzola sauce was also different from what we expected. The cheese did not overpower the other ingredients, but was matched perfectly for a delightfully creamy taste and texture.
Duty-bound for these stories to try dessert as well, my wife and I made the ultimate sacrifice and ordered a chocolate bomba and a confection made with mascarpone cheese, chocolate and amaretto liqueur.
The bomba was almost the size of the tennis ball and was both chocolate and vanilla gelato covered in a dark high quality chocolate shell. The mascarpone dessert had a rich almond flavor, but was very light in texture. Both were perfect endings for impressive meals.
The restaurant is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and for dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
If I had one complaint it would be about the misleading name. Typical Sicilian is anything but typical.
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