It’s been a long time coming, but Carroll Gardens’ Monteleone bakery is finally back in business. F. Monteleone and Cammareri Brothers–a joint venture uniting two beloved Brooklyn bakeries–opened in early February, more than a year after the deal was announced.

Early word is Monteleone’s famous cheesecake is as good as ever, and its lard bread is peppery, rich, and rustic. Longtime devotees look forward to sampling other signature specialties, like biscotti, sfingi, and miniature pastries. In the meantime, the handsomely renovated shop is turning heads. “I love how they kept the old-fashioned flavor of the bakery,” writes monicagtz. “No more Dunkin’ Donuts, please, in the hood. We need more of this!”

In other news, Il Vesuvio, an unusually ambitious pizzeria in Bayside, has spun off a larger restaurant in Whitestone. First reports from two-month-old Vesuvio are highly promising. Pastas, a specialty at the original, are good bets at the new place as well; hounds single out fresh pappardelle with duck ragu and fettuccine with shrimp and crab. Also recommended: beef carpaccio, grilled calamari and shrimp, and expertly cooked pork chops. “There are so many Italian places around,” notes ptkchow, “it’s nice to actually find one worth returning to.”

Elsewhere in Queens, there may be hope for Thai-challenged Astoria. The undistinguished Ubol’s Kitchen has been taken over by the owners of Arunee in Jackson Heights. An early report describes an uneven meal with one unforgettable highlight: a fresh, fiery version of pad kee mao (drunken noodles). PAL, who finds the original Arunee decent and authentic, predicts, “It’s bound to be a huge improvement over Ubol’s.”

In Park Slope, the Chip Shop empire has retrenched. The owner has shuttered the neighboring Curry Shop, four-year-old purveyor of British-style Indian chow, to focus on such core specialties as fish and chips, bangers and mash, and shepherd’s pies. ”’Tis a pity,” laments elecsheep9. “Where else could you get curry over chips?”

From Korean Flushing, two updates: Mani Mani, a rollicking pub that served killer fried chicken, has gone under. A few blocks west, the homey takeout shop Four Seasons has changed hands and re-emerged as Big Mama. Panchan (side dishes), kimchi pajun (scallion pancakes), and dok boki (rice cakes) in spicy sauce are simple and first-rate, reports ZenFoodist. And “Big Mama,” it turns out, is a sweet, diminutive woman, “not big in stature, but with a BIG heart.”

Finally, up in Fishkill, the newer branch of Umami Cafe has closed and given way to Jackalope, a Texas-style barbecue joint under the same ownership. The original Umami Cafe in Croton, which turns out hound-endorsed fusion food, remains in business.

F. Monteleone and Cammareri Brothers Bakery and Cafe [Carroll Gardens]
formerly Frank Monteleone’s Pastry Shop
355 Court St., between Union and President, Brooklyn

Cammareri Brothers Bakery [Bensonhurst]
1660 Bath Ave., between Bay 14th St. and 17th Ave., Brooklyn

Vesuvio [Whitestone]
formerly Mezza Luna
12-02 149th St., at 12th Ave., Whitestone, Queens

Il Vesuvio [Bayside]
39-34 Bell Blvd., near Broadway, Bayside, Queens

Arunee Thai Cuisine [Astoria]
former Ubol’s Kitchen
24-42 Steinway St., near 25th Ave., Astoria, Queens

Arunee Thai Cuisine [Jackson Heights]
37-68 79th St., between 37th and Roosevelt Aves., Jackson Heights, Queens

The Chip Shop [Park Slope]
383 5th Ave., at 6th St., Brooklyn

Mani Mani [Flushing]
163-24 Northern Blvd., between 163rd and 164th Sts., Flushing, Queens

Big Mama [Flushing]
formerly Four Seasons Catering
157-22 Northern Blvd., between 157th and 158th Sts., Flushing, Queens

Jackalope BBQ [Dutchess County]
formerly Umami Cafe
717 Rte. 9, near Main St. (Rte. 52), Fishkill, NY

Umami Cafe [Westchester County]
325 S. Riverside Ave., near Oneida Ave., Croton-on-Hudson, NY

Board Links

Monteleone & Cammareri is open
Vesuvio in Whitestone
Slope Chipshop?
Ubol’s is now Arunee
New Korean Bon Chon Chicken Restaurant on Northern
Korean places in Queens
Umami Fishkill

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