2017-02-22 / Restaurant of the Week

La Vigna ITALIAN RESTAURANT

A meal at La Vigna Italian Restaurant is a treat that shouldn’t be missed. Located on Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills, where parking is easy, La Vigna has been serving homemade, regional Italian cuisine made with love and pride by Chef Giuseppe Vitale for the last 15 years. Everyone who visits La Vigna is enveloped by warmth and the sensation that this is a very special place. It’s very personal and full of love: love of community, love of family and, most of all, love of exceptionally good Italian cuisine. No matter how often you visit La Vigna, there’s always something new, as the menu changes with the seasons to take advantage of nature’s bounty. Candle glow against the antique mirrors illuminates the well-dressed, linen-topped tables, and creates a very warm, inviting atmosphere while Anthony Vitale commands the dining room and the expert staff, ensuring that everyone is happy.

The tidy bar offers all your favorite cocktails and an Old Fashioned at this time of year seems just right, or try one of their signature cocktails, beer, or a bottle of wine from their impressive yet reasonably priced wine cellar. There’s a prix fixe dinner for just $29.95 served Tuesday to Thursday from 3pm onwards that includes an appetizer, soup or salad, choice of entrée, and coffee. If you’ve never been here this is a great way to get acquainted with the fabulous cuisine, all served with grace and a casual sense of humor.

Start with one of their tempting appetizers such as crispy baked clams or clams casino, topped with smoky bacon. The special appetizer of the night was stuffed baby eggplant filled with chopped tomato and capers, topped with Giuseppe’s own homemade mozzarella. Fresh mussels are served in a garlicky white wine sauce or tomato broth and you’ll use the warm, crusty bread to soak up all those delicious juices. Tender, sweet crab cakes are gently pan-fried until golden and served on a bed of greens with homemade tartar sauce. For the table, you can order a hot antipasto platter with a sampling of baked clams, mussels, stuffed mushrooms, eggplant rollatini and shrimp to get things off to a delicious start. A fresh, vibrant salad of mango with mixed greens, prosciutto, and buttery mozzarella provided a nice juxtaposition of flavors and textures. Warm your soul with homemade soup like pasta e fagioli or stracciatelli.

Chef Giuseppe’s homemade pasta is combined with delicious sauces and toppings to delight everyone. The nightly pasta was ravioli stuffed with braised short rib meat that was so tender and succulent. Taglierini was offered with clams, calamari, mussels, and shrimp with your choice of tomato or white wine, or with garlic and oil sauce for another special. One of my favorites is orechiette (little ears) pasta with savory Italian sausage and bitter broccoli rabe. This is just one of La Vigna’s signature pasta dishes that include cavatelli with sautéed zucchini, homemade sausage, and basil and linguine with clam sauce. Paccheri alla Trasteverino is a Roman dish made with wide tube pasta topped with eggplant, mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, garlic and oil for a trip to Rome without a passport. Potato gnocchi are toothsome dumplings topped with chopped tomato, capers, roasted peppers, basil, garlic, and oil. Fresh fish and seafood are featured prominently at La Vigna, where you can always find pan-seared salmon fillet with Dijon mustard sauce, and shrimp prepared any way you like. Filet of orata is gently sautéed with lemon, white wine and garlic for a light and flavorful dish.

Meat options include grass-fed tender filet mignon au poivre, encrusted with pepper and topped with brandy cream sauce. Veal scalloppine topped with mushroom sauce is so tender it can be cut with a fork. Veal rollatini is layered with prosciutto, spinach, and mozzarella topped with a light mushroom sauce. Even the grilled ribeye steak is comparable to those found in upscale steak houses. All fish and meat entrees are served with either pasta or potatoes and vegetables and your meal is served, beautifully presented on gleaming white plates, by a caring and attentive staff.

The chef’s homemade biscotti are ideal for dipping into coffee, espresso, or an after-dinner cordial, but you should still try one of his desserts such as Black Forest cake with cherries and fresh cream, chocolate mousse cake, tiramisu, or homemade Nutella cake.

Keep the romance going with a buonissimo meal at La Vigna. Tuesday to Friday enjoy a great lunch special served from 12-3pm for just $16.95 with appetizer, entrée and coffee. Business and organization luncheons or personal luncheons are welcome and easily arranged. La Vigna is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday (closed Monday) and street parking is easy. You can make reservations on their website and preview the fantastic dishes made here. La Vigna offers high-end, high quality Italian cuisine and prices within reach of all. There’s always something new and seasonal to keep all the loyal customers coming back again and again. Salute!

100-11 Metropolitan Avenue
Forest Hills  718.268.4264

www.lavignany.com
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