Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Don Peppe's

Who here watches Entourage? For those of you who know me, you know that I watched all first six seasons of Entourage two summers ago when I was studying abroad. It was an instant hook for me because the storyline was exciting and ever evolving, and the entourage's lifestyle was absolutely glamorous: Maseratis and Aston Martins, mid-week golf outtings, constant abundance of weed, cocaine and alcohol (recently tequila!), court-side NBA seats, a loyal giant rottweiler, and basically everything that I would ever ask for in life. All in 20-minute segments.

My most consistently favorite character in the show is Turtle, played by Jerry Ferrara. He's motivated, business-minded, down to earth, honest, humble, and most importantly, as big of a fan of New York City as I am. (Jerry Ferrara was at the same New York Knicks game as I was on my 21st birthday, best surprise ever.) In the eight and final season of Entourage, Turtle has an idea to bring a local Queens, NY family-owned Italian restaurant to Los Angeles. He brings in many New York-based investors including Amar'e Stoudemire, and Vince is seen wearing a Don Peppe t-shirt to an interview.

Last weekend for a birthday celebration, my father suggested bringing me to "the best Italian food" he has ever had in New York. He explained it as a hole-in-the-wall joint near JFK airport that he and his buddies have frequented the past few years. He claims that the pasta there is comparable to what he ate in Capri or Rome. And low and behold, the restaurant we were trekking from Manhattan to was exactly the one that Turtle was so adamant about in Entourage. I have never been more excited (best break from living in Boston ever!).

This restaurant pretty much serves everything family-style. Their famous baked clams, grilled portabella mushrooms, pastas, and meats can all be ordered in large platters, and the waiters estimate the amount to serve the number of people at the table. Good thing for occasions like these, my family likes to invite our extended family and close friends, and you would not believe the amount of food we can consume or how much we enjoy our food.

The linguini in white clam sauce is easily one of the best that I've eaten in America; prepared very aromatically with loads of garlic and served perfectly over al dente pasta. I think I ate enough to prepare for two marathons. We also ordered veal Don Pepe, which were breaded and covered with raw tomatoes and red onions. It was a very simple yet delicious secondi piatti that my family keeps on ordering every time we visit. We also tried a platter of chicken wings with sweet Italian sausage and roasted red peppers. It was a weird combination, but it had a very homey comfort food feel to it. Finally, for the birthday people we ordered a platter of cannolis and tartufo to share. The cannoli had a great crunch and the ricotta cream filling was fluffy and divine (I have yet to have an impressive cannoli in Boston, looking at you, Mike's Pastry).

All in all it was a very hearty and filling meal with great company and great food. The environment, waiters, and food make you feel like you are part of their extended first generation Italian family. This place is definitely worth the trip from Manhattan, but be wary of the never ending line, so make a point to go early! I can't wait to go back. I'm already craving the linguini in white clam sauce again, and it's only been 4 days.

The best linguini in white clam sauce in New York

Veal Don Peppe

Don Peppe's 
13558 Lefferts Boulevard
Queens, NY 11420

Unlike most viewers, I did not grow up with Vince, E, Drama, Turtle, and Ari, but it is still a show that I hold dearly to my heart and the end of the series came at the same time with the end of many other things: Harry Potter movies, college, summer, and my childhood, just to name a few. So here's to growing up and moving on, and may the spirit of Entourage endure.


  1. linguini in white clam sauce ... YUM! It sounded amazing. I am definitely going go try it out and will let you know what I think of it.

  2. my favorite stop for great pasta, especially linguini with white clam sauce.