2012-11-21 / Restaurant of the Week

La Vigna Italian Restautant

By Teresa Barile

La Vigna Italian Restaurant just proudly celebrated its 10th Anniversary, serving excellent, artfully prepared Italian cuisine in the quiet section of Forest Hills, on Metropolitan Avenue. The elegant, well-appointed dining room features tables dressed in crisp linens, wood floors, exposed brick and impressively handsome mirrors. Your host and chef, Giuseppe Vitale and son Anthony welcome you to try their delicious cuisine from all regions of Italy. Giuseppe works his magic in the kitchen, preparing handmade pasta, mozzarella, foccaccia and more. Raul and the attentive staff is very pleasant and unobtrusive, allowing for an indulgent meal at affordable prices. This is a wonderful place for your office holiday party or family gathering. It is not too late to take advantage of their Thanksgiving feast, served tomorrow from 12-6pm for just $35.95.

Start with your favorite cocktail or a fine glass of wine from the bar while you crunch on some complimentary bruschetta, made on fantastic, thick crusted bread. For the first course, we tried a special cheese called buratta, a type of mozzarella that has a creamy center accompanied by the special grilled asparagus of the night. Giuseppe, who is passionate about cooking, makes his own mozzarella that melts in your mouth, served with juicy tomatoes, roasted red peppers and basil leaves. Baked clams are crispy and golden and an irresistible combination of fried calamari and shrimp are served on a bed of wild greens, ideal for sharing ($12.50). Classic pasta e fagioli or stracciatella soup will warm you on a cold night, or you could enjoy the insalata all Vigna, composed of baby lettuce, tomato, red onion, creamy goat cheese, fennel and walnuts, an ideal fall salad.

Raul tells us that Giuseppe’s handmade ravioli are a house favorite, with good reason. These tender pillows of pasta are filled with four different cheeses, and topped with a buttery sage sauce. This is the perfect season to try his ravioli filled with sweet pumpkin, butternut squash and ricotta. One of my favorite dishes is orecchiete pasta (little ears) with broccoli rabe and sausage and here, this dish is even more delectable since Giuseppe makes his own sausage in house. The combination of lean pork and spices make this sausage delicious against the bitter bite of broccoli rabe ($17.50). We shared an order of cavatelli with crumbled sausage, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, garlic and oil that was out of this world. We’re still talking about it! Bucatini all’Amatriciana is topped with a light tomato sauce spiked with smoky pancetta bacon. Traditional risotto with saffron and cheese, or made with fresh seafood, or mushroom makes a hearty primo piatto.

La Vigna offers the freshest fish and seafood each day and the specials are always worth trying. That night, a roasted branzino was prepared whole, basted with lemon and olive oil, filleted for us and perfectly flaky and delicious. Folks nearby had the fillet of sole stuffed with rock shrimp, crabmeat and vegetables in garlic and olive oil ($21.95). Jumbo shrimp sautéed in white wine and lemon sauce go well over a mound of pasta if you like.

Our pollo Marsala was forktender and perfectly seasoned with sweet Marsala sauce and mushrooms ($17.95). Pollo alla vecchia maniera or “the old way” are tender cutlets of chicken layered with prosciutto and eggplant, gently sautéed and topped with mozzarella ($17.95). Medallions of veal are supremely tender, sautéed with wild mushrooms and wine sauce, while the veal chop alla Vigna is a sauteed veal chop with grapes, walnuts and balsamic reduction.

On Sunday, there’s a three course prix fixe menu for just $29.95 that includes a choice of some of La Vigna’s best appetizers, soup or salad and a main course. Thanksgiving dinner is served tomorrow from 12-6pm and for $35.95 you’ll have a traditional, three course meal. There will also be an a la carte menu, if turkey is not your thing. Lunch specials are served on weekdays from 12-3:30pm for just $15.95 and include an appetizer, main course, and coffee with homemade biscotti for dessert.

Speaking of dessert, save room for Chef Giuseppe’s creamy tiramisu, chocolate mousse cake, Italian cheesecake, and my favorite Nutella cake. A rich espresso or cappuccino and an after dinner liqueur is the perfect way to end this memorable meal. La Vigna is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner with the $29.95 prix fixe Sunday dinner. Make reservations now for your office holiday party or family event. It’s easy to park outside and you’ll feel like you’ve been to an Italian villa, right here in Forest Hills. Great food, great wine, and beautiful ambience at La Vigna Restaurant, celebrating 10 delicious years! Auguri!

100-11 Metropolitan Avenue
Forest Hills  718.268.4264

www.lavignany.com

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