Gone But Not Forgotten Restaurants: Delsomma

June 23rd, 2011 § 13 comments

Frank Sinatra loved it. So did Jason Robards and David Mamet (who wrote about it in his book of essays Make Believe Town: Essays and Remembrances. Sidney Poitier dined there often when he was appearing on Broadway. Coleen Dewhurst called it “family.” HG is referring to Delsomma, an Italian restaurant at 266 W. 47th Street in the heart of the theater district. It closed in 1993, a victim of the drug dealing, prostitution and street violence that plagued 8th Avenue and surrounding side streets in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Run by the Cardinale family for 40 years, every diner was treated like a star. HG and BSK were introduced to Delsomma by their dear friend, the late Michael Small. Michael, who composed the score for many memorable films, took them there after the premiere of Marathon Man (with Dustin Hoffman and Lawrence Olivier playing a Nazi dentist). Michael did the chilling score.

From that time forward it became HG and BSK’s go to place for Italian food. Their first meeting with Profesore/ Dottore M. (yet to become the husband of daughter LR) was at Delsomma. The fastidious (and nervous) M. heartily approved of the food. Some of the house specialties: Ziti with broccoli, lightly fried jumbo shrimp in lemon sauce, pork chops with vinegar peppers—and some of the best veal in town. Beautiful potato croquettes. Sauteed escarole with garlic. Michael Small and Delsomma are always linked in HG’s memory. Miss them both.

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§ 13 Responses to Gone But Not Forgotten Restaurants: Delsomma"

  • Jonny says:

    Great story, Gerry! I don’t think I ever had the pleasure of experiencing Delsomma, but if you and my dad liked it–it must have been amazing .

  • Joe Cafrey says:

    The five Cardinale brother’s were my uncles, and I grew up in that place. I own the original copy of that photo of Sydney Poitier and my uncles. Your love of the place is shows clearly in your beautiful description of what it was like. It was the best veal in town. I ran into David Mamet in an elevator recently and he told me he dream about it.
    Thanks for this post.

    • Gerry says:

      Ah, Delsomma!! Everything was great–penne with broccoli, vinegar peppers and veal from heaven. Warm, welcoming service. Thanks for telling me about David Mamet. I will be in Bologna this November where there are restaurants that have the life enhancing quality of Delsomma. I wish you good appetite,Joe.

    • Ben ' Schiro says:

      I have eaten there many times with my father circa 1960’s, and when I was in the USN ate their when on weekend leave, and always enjoyed my meal and had a blast! Ben

    • Margaret Chapman says:

      Hello Joe
      My parents went to NYC every Fall after canning season.They would see 4 to 5 shows and only
      ate at Delsomas. Can you tell me where the Cardinal brothers where from? My family is from Wilkes Barre,Pennsylvania and my parents just went to the Cardinal brothers. When my dad passed in 1977 my mother and I went to Delsomas in 1978 for dinner after spending time in New York. We where treated just the same as my parents where every time they walked in the front door. They always felt at home with your uncle’s. I had my first chicken parmesan at Delsomas when I was a senior in high school. What incredible memories I have of NYC!!

      Margaret M Chapman

  • richard s says:

    Went there many times between 1975 and early 90’s…Wonderful family atmosphere and great food!

  • Michael Fleischmann says:

    I’m pretty sure this was the place where I was dining with a small group around 1980, and saw Robert Duvall dining there alone. He graciously gave my date an autograph, though I’m sure he would have preferred to not be disturbed.

  • Tim Stewart says:

    My mother’s family were friends with the Cardinales, and would dine there as a treat when we went into the City

  • Tony Rios Jr. says:

    My father Tony Sr. was a Chef for the Cardinale family at Delsomma Restaurant for 40 years. I too worked at the Delsomma Restaurant for three years in 1976 before I joined the police force. Delsomma was one of the best Italian Restaurants in NYC and it was a privilege to work for these great men. I have since visited the place this year and it is an Irish bar. It brought back memories of my dad and I working there and the good times we had working there. I would be great to speak again with any of the Cardinale brothers or any family members.

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