I’ve been told more than once that I have forsaken my Italian heritage to devote myself to Asian cuisine. Usually I take this in stride, especially since my Sicilian-American father inspired my love of Asian food. Sometime though I need to feel that red sauce flowing in my veins. I head over to Mama’s of Corona for a meatball parmigiana sandwich. If that doesn’t get my Italian heart beating then I know I need serious treatment, a pilgrimage to that shrine of Sicilian soul food, Joe’s of Avenue U, located in deepest Brooklyn.
Via the F from from Queens it’s an hour-plus trek. Visible from the subway platform Joe’s specializes in all manner of Sicilian grandma food like cacocciuli stufati ($7.99.) I cut my teeth on my mother’s gigantic globe artichokes stuffed with a mixture of garlicky breadcrumbs. More unusual is the occasional special of cacocciuli frittu ($6), or fried artichoke hearts. It’s something I haven’t seen outside of Joe’s. I could go for some right now and perhaps a vastedda ($6.99), a calf spleen sandwich topped with a dollop of ricotta. I think feel a pilgrimage coming on.
Joe of Avenue U, 287 Avenue U, Gravesend, 718-449-9285