From the moment I walked into the Big Ragu Restaurant, at 1338 Lansdowne Ave., I was aware that this experience was going to be special. Owner and executive chef, Carmine Accogli and I seem to have travelled on the same road of life. Carmine lost both of his parents at an early age. My father died when I was just fourteen and so I asked Carmine how he got through the hard times. He told me simply that he believes in mankind and in the simple joy of life.
At The Big Ragu Carmine serves Italian
fare from the regions where his parents were raised. In a way his cuisine is a tribute to them.
The Osso Bucco Alla Big Ragu is a braised veal shank. It is cooked slowly over a low heat allowing the veal to fully absorb the fresh herbs and spices. The veal itself is high quality and tastes wonderful. Carmine serves bread with the Osso Bucco and once you have tasted the jus you understand. The bread is needed to soak up what is left of this exquisite sauce. The spicy lemon roasted chicken is also a must. This chicken is roasted like your Nonna used to make it, with heaps of lemon and tempting exotic spices. Carmine adds hot Italian peppers for a spicy dish you will not soon forget. The flavour seems to bring you to a café in Italy where everything around you becomes alive, including your taste buds.
When I eat pizza I look for two elements - the dough and the toppings. At the Big Ragu, I have found both as the pizza is superb. I had the Calabrese Pizza served with mozzarella cheese, spicy Italian salami, mushrooms and peppers. Avrum tried the Tri Colori pizza, served with mozzarella cheese, arugula, bruschetta, and olives. I have never seen a grown man smile for so long.
Somehow we managed dessert, which were sinful. They are made fresh at the Bona Via Bakery and Café at 308 Painted Post Drive.
FIVE STARS: (Extraordinary) A one-of-a-kind, world-class experience.
FOUR STARS: (Excellent) Superior. Memorable, high-quality menus and/or savvy service.
THREE STARS: (Good) Solid places that beckon with generally appealing cooking.
TWO STAR: (Fair) Just OK. A place not worth rushing back to. But, it might have something worth recommending.
ONE STAR: (Poor) Below-average restaurant.
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