Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Café DiBlasi Italian Fare & Spirits | A West Bank Institution

Here's my review of Café DiBlasi Italian Fare & Spirits that ran in the January 2010 issue of The West Bank Beacon.


Café DiBlasi Italian Fare & Spirits, located at 1801 Stumpf Boulevard in Terrytown, is a Westbank institution. Chef/owner Mario DiBlasi is the 3rd generation of his family to operate a restaurant on the Westbank.

Mario DiBlasi is the son of Anthony DiBlasi and Anna Maria Giovanna Paoli, who met in an area near Pisa, Italy, during World War II. Mario grew up with his parents and siblings in a double on Valette Street on Algiers Point. The family lived on one side of the double and his mother operated A&A Grill (Anna & Anthony) out of the other side serving sandwiches. Years prior, Mario’s paternal grandmother operated Five Points Café at the corner of Opelousas and Bouny Streets.

In 1962, Mario’s father opened Mother’s Restaurant in the Butterich Building (current location of Thanh Thanh Restaurant) on Huey P. Long Avenue near Front Street in Gretna. In 1976, Anthony DiBlasi sold Mother’s and, with Mario and his brother, opened Antony’s Restaurant at 5100 Westbank Expressway near Barataria Boulevard where they served classic Italian fare until 1985.

In 1985, Mario and his wife Mary opened Café DiBlasi at the corner of Stumpf Boulevard and Holmes Boulevard. Since 1996, Café DiBlasi has been in its present location at 1801 Stumpf Boulevard at the corner of Wright Avenue in Terrytown.

Chef Mario prides himself on serving the freshest premium ingredients available. He serves a luscious, thick Sicilian-style red gravy as well as a traditional cream sauce. The dinner menu is filled with classic Italian dishes including Bracioloni (my personal favorite), Veal Marsala, Veal DiBlasi (pan-fried veal topped with lump crabmeat & lemon cream sauce), Ossobuco, and Crabmeat Cannelloni, to name a few. Most dinner items, which include a salad and hot French bread, are in the $16.00 - $20.00 range.

At lunchtime, in addition to the regular menu items, Chef Mario features traditional New Orleans “daily” lunches ranging in price from $8.95 - $12.95. I recently had lunch there on a Wednesday and ordered the Stuffed Bell Pepper served with a salad, baked macaroni, and artichoke casserole. A big, delicious meal priced at only $9.95! Complementing the meal was hot French bread served with a mixture of olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping. Other daily specials include Sauteed Veal Liver served with a salad, rice & gravy and a vegetable medley ($9.95) on Tuesdays; Panne Veal served with a salad, baked macaroni, and artichoke casserole ($10.95) on Wednesdays; Crabmeat Fettuccine with a salad and fried eggplant ($10.95) on Thursdays; and Seafood Gumbo served with potato salad ($7.95) on Fridays.

Café DiBlasi attracts an eclectic crowd. The day I was there, the lunch diners included professionals, a family celebrating a toddler’s birthday, office workers, police officers and neighborhood retirees.

In addition to its spacious main dining room, Café DiBlasi has a private room that can accommodate up to 30 people. The restaurant has a full bar and offers drink specials ($2.50 martinis on Wednesdays and $2.50 house wine on Thursdays) at lunch and dinner.

Located at the corner of Stumpf Boulevard and Wright Avenue, Café DiBlasi is conveniently located and easily accessible from the Central Business District via either the Terry Parkway or Stumpf Boulevard exits. There is plenty of free parking in the shopping center parking lot.

The restaurant hours are Tuesday – Friday, lunch from 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.; and Tuesday – Saturday, dinner from 5:00 p.m. – 9 p.m. For reservations or information, call 504-361-3106. You can check out their website at www.cafediblasi.com.

Whether for lunch, dinner or a private party, Chef Mario and Mary DiBlasi look forward to serving you soon at Café DiBlasi!

Reprinted with permission of The West Bank Beacon.

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