Owner-chef Peter Mel has transformed a dreary Coney Island into a hip eatery. The long narrow room is decorated with colorful Broadway show posters on dove-gray walls, and the theatrical motif spills over onto the menu, with “Act I” relating to breakfast, “Act II” to luncheon sandwiches and so on. Somewhere between a trendy bistro and a neighborhood hangout, Pete’s is quite reasonable, with mains averaging around $12 and appetizers and salads around $6. Be certain to ask for the specials of the day, which can include eggplant parmigiana, a near-perfect blend of cheese and tender eggplant slices floating in marinara sauce. As for the dozen permanent entrées, the “lemon chicken piccata” combines an ample portion of chicken in a subtle piquant sauce served over pasta. Four frittata-style omelets anchor the breakfast menu, and luncheon sandwiches range from corned beef on rye to a sautéed chicken breast with spinach, portabella and Gruyere pesto mayo, to paninis stuffed with sautéed vegetables or mushrooms and goat cheese or turkey and spinach, to that venerable classic, French dip consisting of prime-rib shavings, swiss cheese, au jus and horseradish sauce. No smoking.
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