Old-school red-sauce joints are a crucial part of Brooklyn's history and identity, even if most of those once-prevalent mobster hideouts have gone the way of, well, mob crime in New York City. But Bamonte's remains, and it offers a glimpse into this storied past. Opened by Italian immigrant Pasquale Bamonte on a residential street in Williamsburg, Bamonte's has been serving Italian classics since 1900. These days Pasquale's grandson Anthony runs the joint. He hasn't changed much: The décor — a long, wooden bar; carpeted floors; phone booths — feels like it dates to 1955. Bartenders and servers, all of whom seem to be named Henry or Anthony, wear tuxes, and they're on a first-name basis with many of the Italian families who fill the large tables. These families are decades-long regulars, even if some of them have moved out to Long Island and have to drive in for a meal. The food isn't groundbreaking, but it is comforting (much of it is pasta, after all), and even new neighborhood transplants with carefully honed palates will likely enjoy dishes like stuffed artichokes and the “Pork Chop Bamonte,” which is made with vinegar and hot peppers. As one regular said, “You don't go for the food. You go for Bamonte's.” Make sure to enjoy a postprandial espresso-and-sambuca — it's the original Brooklyn combo.
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