Bruno’s Ristorante is a gem of an Italian restaurant tucked away in a small storefront structure on West 41st Street.
Owner Bruno DiSiena was executive chef at the Cleveland Browns training facility in Berea until Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore. That gave DiSiena the initiative he needed to open his own restaurant. These days, Bruno’s is the official caterer to Bernie Kosar and the Cleveland Gladiators indoor football team.
The tiny restaurant was buzzing on the evening of our visit. There was a 45-minute wait for a table at 8:30 p.m. on a Friday. Bruno’s authentic Italian fare, prepared from family recipes, has evidently made it a popular dining spot. Appetizers include Asiago cheese-stuffed breaded and fried olives ($9.95), sausage and peppers ($8.95), bruschetta ($6.95) and a plate of assorted Italian meats and cheeses ($9.95). I was pleased to see that, in addition to fried calamari, the kitchen also offers sauteed calamari ($9.95). The tender squid was served in a light, fresh marinara sauce. My companion opted for the featured appetizer of the day, which was crab-stuffed shells baked in a rich lobster cream sauce. We also enjoyed a cup of the homemade Italian wedding soup ($3.95).
Pizzas and calzones are available with a variety of toppings. Specialty pizzas are the veggie pizza bianco ($11.95 for a large to share) and a tomato and basil pizza with roasted red peppers and artichokes ($14.95).
Bruno’s is known for its lasagna. All of the pastas are homemade in Bruno’s kitchen. In addition to meat lasagna ($13.95), Bruno’s offers eggplant lasagna layered with Romano and provolone cheese and finished with a blush sauce ($16.95). The red or white clam sauce for the linguine con vongole ($15.95) is made with fresh clams. Ravioli is offered with meat or cheese ($10.95), and homemade gnocchi is served with blush sauce ($10.95).
Chicken Romano is crusted with Romano cheese, pan-seared and finished with a light pesto cream sauce over tomatoes and onions ($17.95). Veal medallions are prepared con carciofi, with artichokes, Marsala wine and cream, or as saltimbocca, sauteed with garlic and wine and topped with slices of prosciutto ($17.95).
House specialties include Bruno’s linguini alla pescatore topped with fresh seafood and marinara sauce ($22.95). Bistecca al funghetto is filet of beef in Burgundy wine sauce with mushrooms ($20.95). Shrimp is sauteed in garlic and olive oil with roasted red peppers and served over pasta ($16.95).
Smaller portions of many restaurant specialties are available at lunch. The noontime crowd can also enjoy sandwiches like the Italian Panini ($8.95), or the Bruno burger topped with deli meats and fresh mozzarella cheese ($8.95).
Catering and carryout are available. Major credit cards are honored. Bruno’s Ristorante, located at 2644 W. 41st St., is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, until 11 p.m. on Friday, 4 to 11 p.m. on Saturday and 4 to 9 p.m. on Sunday. Phone 216-961-7087.