5074 Sunrise Hwy
Massapequa Park, NY 11762
A GREAT day for the Food Hounds... It's ole' Brim bringing all you foodies the 411 on an AMAZING dining experience here on Long Island! Etan Wish, Luscious and I headed over to a well-loved spot on Sunrise Highway in Massapequa, New York called Ciao Baby. I'm sure a large portion of you reading this have seen the place on a little television show called, 'Man vs Food'. As great as that may be... it doesn't even shed the tiniest light on the tremendous selection of innovative dishes prepared by none other than Celebrity Chef Heather West (Hell's Kitchen: Season 2). Not only is Heather a kick a$$ Chef; she is extremely fun and entertaining while getting the job done. VERY impressive!
The Hounds enjoyed friendly banter with Chef Heather, Chef Frank (Owner of Ciao Baby) and other members of the Staff. The waitstaff is very friendly and go out of their way to make you feel like family. The overall look and feel of the restaurant was very upscale modern and trendy; perfect for a first date or a romantic dinner with your significant other; while also being a great spot for a business brunch. Why come here... I'm about to begin telling you!
I'm not going to beat around the bush this time; the Short Rib Ragu for the WIN. A seemingly simple dish (it's really quite complicated), an unreal Braised Beef mixed with a Mashed Potato Gnocchi (pronounced No-Kee) drenched in San Marzano tomato sauce that slayed us! The meat was SO incredibly soft that it melts in your mouth and the Gnocchi... OFF THE HOOK. Period. A clear-cut second (still a WIN regardless) is Chef West's Specialty Dish, the Pan Seared Swordfish. A fresh Swordfish which was completely non-fishy tasting draped over a bed of sauteed asparagus and topped in a 'popped' cherry tomato sauce. The fish had a light buttery flavor, cooked to perfection, deliciously moist and flaky.
Apparently here at Ciao Baby, size matters (good thing Lush and I are big guys)... the plate containing the Gemelli con Salsiccia was GINORMOUS! This specific dish IS actually made for two people though. This three-foot dish of goodness contained crumbled pieces of seasoned Italian sausage, mushrooms and steamed broccoli rabe with a sun-dried tomato cream sauce served over twirley-whirley macaroni topped by a HUGE dollop of ricotta. One specific dish that caught my eye before it even hit the table was their Sicilian Rice Ball which is a quasi-crispy Risotto ball stuffed with seasoned ground meat, peas and surrounded in a plum tomato sauce moat with melted mozzarella and again a HUGE dollop of ricotta (starting to see a pattern here?). Lastly, a dish that is made with love... Grandma's Eggplant lasagna, which is made in a large tray and not only takes a LONG time to produce; buy it also only makes about eight servings! The tedious layers of thinly sliced eggplant covered in marinara and Parmesan cheese (used as the mortar), topped with melted mozzarella and ricotta. Fantastic flavor, I'd certainly order that again.
Just when the Hounds thought we were done... out comes what they call The Volcano - FOURTEEN scoops chocolate and vanilla ice cream, fresh bright red strawberries, Oreos (Happy 100 years Oreo), whip-cream and hot fudge in a really REALLY large chocolate shell. Ridiculous... LoL, it was just insane! Or at least we THOUGHT it was until they decided to bring out... The Mother Load. What the staff affectionately refers to as a play on an ice cream sandwich. Two Funnel Cakes, ELEVEN scoops of ice cream, strawberry and a BIG Oreo center payoff! The specialty ice cream of the day was Rainbow Cookie and was awesome(specialty flavor changes on a regular basis so you can always stay surprised).
All in all, this was an incredible experience that we will surely remember for quite some time! We look forward to returning again and sampling the NEW dishes that we hear are coming to the improved menu soon! Even better, you can visit them in either of their two locations in Massapequa and in Commack! Make sure you tell them the Food Hounds sent you!
For the VIDEO of our experience, please click HERE
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