WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
From every perspective, Bosco’s is two or three times the restaurant it was a few years ago. Owner-chef Tony Bosco moved to much nicer quarters in Mandeville and opened a chic new Bosco’s in Covington. And while the menu has also extended its range, it remains that of the family-style, Sicilian-inspired Italian-Creole restaurant New Orleanians have always loved. Yet they still make muffulettas. That, and a few other dishes here, are the best of their kind anywhere in the area. The pricing and portions are also attractive, as they must be on the North Shore.
Bosco’s shows no reluctance to serve the basics of local Italian cookery. If you like a smooth red sauce with pasta and meatballs, here it is. Cannelloni are enormous and well-stuffed. Italian sausage with peppers is a blast from 1960s. Veal Parmigiana comes in a stack so tall it makes you laugh–nervously. Recent additions to the menu include some great dishes involving fresh fish, oysters, crabmeat, and shrimp. There’s nothing here that isn’t worth trying. Even the house salad makes you look forward to the eating.
Tony Bosco’s grandparents operated the well-known restaurant of the same name in Slidell, decades ago. Little of the food here reminds one of that place–which I’d say is a good thing. Tony first opened with a limited menu in a tiny space in a strip mall in 2003. He had been working for Sal Impastato at Sal & Judy’s, where he learned skill and taste. Bosco’s became extraordinarily popular after Katrina, enough that the restaurant moved to a much bigger space in early 2009. The menu expanded, too, making Bosco’s a much more interesting restaurant. In 2012, Tony opened a second location in the TerraBella community in Covington.
The Mandeville location has expanded twice since it moved into its new strip mall, with the rooms getting nicer the farther you get from the front door. A real bar at the entrance has become more appealing lately. A suggestion I made in this space that it could use a guy sitting in the corner singing Frank Sinatra tunes for tips has actually been adopted on some weekends. The TerraBella Bosco’s has a totally different and much more attractive decor, airy and bright with big windows looking into the faux-antique community from its center.
Baked cheese tortellini, tomato cream sauce, provolone
»»Crabmeat Buster (crabmeat dressing, artichoke bottom, sherry cream sauce)
Baked eggplant, crabmeat, shrimp
Italian salad, salami, cheeses, olives, tomatoes, artichokes
Tomato & fresh mozzarella salad
Bleu cheese salad, romaine & tomatoes
»Spaghetti & meatballs
»Italian sausage & peppers, pasta aglia olio
»Lasagna with meat and five cheeses, tomato basil sauce
»»Cannelloni with veal, spinach, and cheese stuffing, two sauces
Veal or chicken pannee
Veal or chicken parmesan
»Veal Carmella (pannee veal, shrimp, mushrooms, lemon butter cream sauce
Shrimp & pasta
»Shrimp diavolo, spicy tomato cream sauce, penne pasta
Shrimp or chicken alfredo or pesto, penne pasta
Spaghetti & sauteed oysters, garlic, green onions, pasta aglio olio
»Baked Italian oysters
Meatball sandwich, melted provolone, tomato sauce
Italian sausage sandwich, peppers, onions, melted mozzarella and provolone
Pastrami sandwich, melted baby Swiss, rye bread
Two-salami & two-cheese panini
Chicken pannee sandwich, tomato sauce
FOR BEST RESULTS
Order about two-thirds as much food as you would ordinarily; the portions here are like Mosca’s, and can be shared while still having too much to eat comfortably.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The main dining room in Mandeville, even after being decorated with wall hangings, is still a little dark and cold. On the other hand, the food at the lovely TerraBella Bosco’s has never been quite as good as at the original.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment +2
- Consistency +2
- Value +3
- Attitude +1
- Wine & Bar +1
- Hipness +1
- Local Color +1
- Good for business meetings
- Open Monday lunch and dinner
- Unusually large servings
- Quick, good meal
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking
- Reservations accepted