From behind the counter of Italian Kitchen on Post Road in Fairfield, the illustrious voice of a chef hard at work is heard over the sound of water boiling on a stove and the roar of a blazing hot pizza oven: “Chicken parmigiana with a side of penne vodka!” I felt like I was back at my nonni’s house on a Sunday afternoon. Thin red tomato sauce fills the steaming hot white plate and a thick crispy breaded chicken cutlet covered with melted white mozzarella centers the dish.
We’ve all seen the advertisements either pinned on the bulletin board in our dorms or have seen the menu slipped under our doors by a resident assistant. All you need to do is pick up the phone and call because they not only deliver, but also take StagCards. Now, the three-year-old Italian Kitchen is “Bringing Little Italy, Arthur Ave to Fairfield!”
One immediately notices the roadside deli’s charm. To the right of the entrance, two flyers are propped upon a patio tabletop. One reads “Fairfield Pink Pledge,” and the other shows a picture of a powder sugar covered hard shell cannoli with pink ricotta and sugar custard cream filling in the middle. For breast cancer awareness month, the restaurant is charitably contributing 20 percent of the proceeds from the pink cannoli sales to The Norma Pfriem Breast Center. The flyers are overshadowed by countless red and white cans of Francesconi tomato sauce that are stacked in the windows. When walking through the doors, you lose yourself within what seems to be a miniature deli in Palermo, Sicily. Meat and cheese are hung from the ceiling above the counter, boxes of pasta are lined in the back and a bottle of Pellegrino waits on every table. Meanwhile, slices of pizza are already being prepared with homemade pasta on the way. Yeah, these guys are Italian.
Late last Sunday night, my friends and I were desperately in search of a place to eat on Post Road but would not settle for your average run of the mill meal. We wanted to be impressed. We checked Yelp for recommendations of Italian food and the spot that topped the list was the Italian Kitchen rated with 4 1/2 stars out of 5.
The Owners are a father and son duo, Dominick Sr. and Dominick Jr. They adamantly inform customers that each and every item, except for the bread which is shipped in from their Arthur Avenue neighborhood, is homemade. The true-to-heart Italian chefs pride themselves on handcrafted artistry. Being an Italian myself, I always know to order homemade pasta when it is the specialty of a traditional Italian restaurant. Italian Kitchen adds their own personal taste of Italy, and the pasta has never tasted so good.
Their double sided menu provides endless options of appetizers, pizza, pasta, entrees, sandwiches, paninis, wraps and a multitude of Italian pastries. All sauces — tomato, vodka, Alfredo, Bolognese, creamy pesto, marinara and fra diavolo (spicy) — along with cannoli shells and cream, are made in-house. Dominick Sr. will be the first to tell you that “The Godfather,” the classic Italian combo with prosciutto, capicola, soppressata, provolone, lettuce, tomato and Italian dressing, is easily the first-choice sandwich, selling “25 to 1.” Selling in second place is the “Fairfield’s Finest,” which contains a chicken cutlet, fresh tomato, homemade mozzarella, and basil. “We named the sandwich after the police in Fairfield,” proclaims Dominick Sr. “They are the best around, and are always willing to help out.”
I personally went with the chicken parmigiana with a side of penne vodka, while my friends ordered the two best sellers. The chicken parmigiana was delicious and the penne vodka had rich creamy vodka sauce smeared over the fluffy pasta. Topped off with grated parmesan, it was like heaven on earth. To finish off the meal, we ordered some fresh-filled cannolis: two chocolate chip and two pink cream cannolis.
“With our prices, we are the place for college students,” states Dominick Jr. “Also during the football season, customers can ask for the ‘Football Special’ where a large pizza is sold for the price of a small on game day and nights (Monday, Thursday and Sunday).” Dominick Jr. also added that groups of customers can come in for their very own Mozzarella Party, where they can come and make their own mozzarella and bring it home with them when they are done.
I suggest you go right in and ask for Dominick Sr. or “Dominick from the Bronx,” a Palermo native, and his son Dominick, Jr.; these guys will take care of you. Dominick Sr. has been in the restaurant business since he was 15 years old, already owning three other locations of business. Both father and son are genuine guys and are very sociable. They truly care about their customers.
This week, we give Italian Kitchen five out of five stars because as a whole, this restaurant/deli combo is fantastic with unbelievably delectable food and great customer service. Please order for delivery or visit them on 1700 Post Road Fairfield and definitely rate them on Yelp. You don’t know what you are missing.