It's a toss-up what the most famous culinary landmark of Bensonhurst is. Some might say L&B Spumoni Gardens, the 68-year-old home of New york's best parmesan pizza slice. Others would side with Tommaso Restaurant, the gracious, friendly restaurant run by Tommaso Verdillo. The atmosphere and menu are homey and comforting, and the wine cellar holds Italian vino treasures and amazingly low prices.
I was fortunate enough to enjoy a dinner there recently. The food is good, but Verdillo's warm persona is almost enough to make a visit worthwhile. He dresses casually and doesn't like to put on airs. He does, however, like to put on arias, offering unsolicited concerts to the clientele.
As people who read this blog regularly know, one of my mantras regarding the saving of this city's mercantile landmarks is: Own That Building! If you rent is these times, your days are numbered, no matter what your pedigree. I was glad to find out that Verdillo does own his building and has no plans of going anywhere. There does not, however, appear to be any heir to his kingdom; he has no children. Surely there's someone out there who would like to learn at the knee of this man.