554 Vanderbilt Ave
City: Brooklyn, NY
Phone: (718) 857-6700
Hours: Mon-Sat: 11am-10pm Sun: 12pm-9pm
Site: Visit the restaurant site
2nd Cuisine: Pizza
Area: Prospect Heights
Entree Price: $10-$20
Payment: Visa Mastercard
The charm of an old school Italian eatery without the price tag is exactly what you will find at Cataldos. We were greeted by a friendly waitstaff who led us to our table in their warm and cozy establishment. If you order pizza or a calzone, you can watch as your food as it is prepared in a brick oven on the other side of the counter. The forefront of the counter proudly displays some of their tempting snacks and appetizers such as garlic knots and spinach pies. Throughout our time there, patrons who were less inclined to get dolled up and brave the crisp New York air whizzed in and out, collecting their take out orders, making small talk with the counter staff, and then quickly dashing out the door with their prizes.
Aside from their menu of basic Italian American specials (including calamari, bruschetta, and, of course, pizza) their list of nightly specials could easily write its own book, each one sounding more delicious than the next. Unfortunately, they were not written anywhere and by the time the waitress was done ratting off the list I felt like my head was spinning in some kind of Italian food heavenly craze. Our waitress, was, however, extensively patient with us and took the time to explain, in full detail, each item on the menu.
We started off our meal with the stuffed artichoke, a soft, warm and garlicky treat, perfect to warm us up on a frozen Brooklyn night. We purchased a bottle of wine to split, after being given some advice from our kind and bubbly waitress. My boyfriend got the stuffed pork, filled with cheeses, prosciutto and spinach. All I had to do was smell it and i was immediately jealous. I had a bit more of a classic: the chicken francaise -- while I was jealous of him I cannot say that my decision was anywhere near regrettable.
The portion sizes were enormous, particularly for the price. The overall feeling of the location is romantic, without being too dim and over-the-top. The attentiveness of the wait staff was the perfect amount. They were not obtrusive nor ignorant. This was a great place to go on a date, however, I would hesitate to go on a night that would be too busy as the tile and open air design could potentially make for unpleasant acoustics. The location also had booths that lined each side of the restaurant, so intimacy could be a bit of an issue.
Review By: Valerie Pettersen