Delivery File #1: Leo’s Casa Calamari (8602 Third Avenue)
Full disclosure: File #1 was going to be 86 Noodles or Grand Sichuan, but neither picked up their phones for about 15 minutes. After a short family deliberation, we chose Casa Calamari. The restaurant opened in 1995 and, apart from a six-month stretch of fire-related closure from October 2011 to March 2012, it’s been a popular staple here in southern Brooklyn for 20 years.
Casa Calamari has always been one of my family’s go-to delivery spots. It’s not fancy or fussy, and it doesn’t land on many lists of local favorites, but we find it to be very fine comfort food. The menu reads a little like a diner menu with Italian and Greek favorites side-by-side. We’ve actually only eaten in the dining room a handful of times; it’s the delivery experience that makes this restaurant shine. We don’t use Seamless in my house; we’ve been burned a few times, and frankly we like to talk to a real person, even if it can be trying. The people who answer at Casa Calamari, thankfully, are always professional and polite.
They make good pizza, calzones and Greek salad; we opted for the baked clams, spaghetti and meatballs, and linguine Alfredo. The total bill (with tax) was about $40, which won’t land Casa Calamari on any cheap-eats lists. Our food was delivered in 50 minutes, which is a long wait for this place, but we wrote it off as being unusually busy on a holiday-weekend Thursday night. (Typically, we expect delivery from this restaurant in 30 to 35 minutes.) All three dishes arrived very hot and delivered in tightly closed (no leaks!), reusable plastic containers, with three large, foil wrapped chunks of Italian bread. No flatware or napkins—not a big deal, but worth noting.
The baked clams were really tasty, not overpowered by their light breading, with a nice flavor of their own that was able to come out. The spaghetti and meatballs comes with a thick and tangy meat sauce and three golfball-sized meatballs. The pasta is nicely cooked, with plenty of sauce. The meatballs are maybe a little dense, which makes them slightly dry in the center, but they are well seasoned. The linguine Alfredo was creamy and delicious, with buttery sauce drenching the al dente elliptical noodles. Other than the eight clams, which we devoured, there was plenty of food in each entree for another full meal, especially taking into account the amount of bread included.