As guests sat down to dinner on Tuesday night at Marco Polo Ristorante’s 25th anniversary celebration, a group of musicians crowded around the piano and launched into the theme from “The Godfather.” Live music, endless amounts of wine and a jaw-dropping menu of Marco Polo’s famous Italian dishes? Now that was an offer few could refuse.
The two floors of the Carroll Gardens eatery buzzed as long-time customers, friends of owner Joe Chirico and hungry local politicians took their seats and dug into crabmeat cocktail, homemade spaghetti with chicory and grappa sauce, baked turbot in champagne dressing and sweet-and-spicy duck.
“A lot of my friends and customers are here. Some of them started out as customers and became good friends, and they’re here tonight, so I can show my gratitude for all they do for me,” said Chirico, pictured at right with his wife, Rosa.
The crowd was also treated to a peek at Chirico’s plans to remodel the restaurant. When his son Marco graduates from culinary school, he plans to take over and his proud papa is giving the eatery a facelift in his honor.
“In the next 25 years, I’m looking for my son to take over. He’s got a lot of new ideas, and I’ll let him take the ship the way he wants it,” said Chirico. “Next year, we’re going to remodel into what the neighborhood calls for. It will still be elegant, but more modern and will have a cafe outside.”
And while these changes are surely exciting, some regulars wouldn’t care if the tried-and-true ristorante never changed.
“I’m an old-fashioned guy, and I love his chicken Parmesan,” said Borough President Markowitz. “I’m not fancy, it’s not nouveau…[Marco Polo] is basic, and that’s what I am.”
Marco Polo Ristorante (345 Court St. at Union Street in Carroll Gardens) accepts American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa. The restaurant is open daily for dinner and serves lunch Monday through Friday. For information, call (718) 852-5015 or visit www.marcopoloristorante.com.