2018-05-02 / Restaurant of the Week

Senso Unico

Senso Unico is the one way to a delicious, authentic Italian meal, served with love and pride by Chef Vincenzo and his lovely wife, Laura Garofalo. Senso Unico means “one way” in Italian and is seen on street signs everywhere to indicate the flow of traffic. Senso Unico is perched on a quaint corner in Sunnyside across from a playground on 47th Avenue with easy access by car, 7 train, or on foot. Chef Vincenzo is an Italian born and raised chef who brought his expertise to some of the finest Manhattan restaurants. Senso Unico is the first restaurant of his own. Laura is no stranger to all things delicious, as she is the daughter of Michale, owner of the famous GianPiero Bakery on 30th Avenue in Astoria. Senso Unico opened last November and already has drawn quite a following for the fine food, wine, and hospitality, served in the pleasing, comfortable dining room. The night I visited, the room was full of diners there for a special Wine Tasting Dinner celebrating the new Spring menu. With each dish Chef Vincenzo brought out, the trained wine sommelier paired it with a wonderful Italian vintage.

There’s a nice bar at the entrance where you’re welcome to stop in for a cocktail or glass of wine after work, or while you wait for the rest of your party to arrive. We dove right into some of the tantalizing appetizers from the seasonal menu that included baby artichokes, gently fried with spiced breadcrumbs, and bursting with bright lemon flavor ($8). I can’t say enough good things about the unique mortadella meatballs. These tender meatballs were full of flavor and resting on a puddle of fragrant spinach and pistachio pesto. With three to an order, they’re perfect for sharing, as are the fried calamari, served in a bowl with fried broccoli rabe and lemon wheels. Pizzetta are mini pizzas that kids and adults will fight over, dressed with homemade tomato sauce and cheese fondue ($5). The beet salad is pretty as a picture with ricotta, frisee lettuce, and candied walnuts. String bean salad is tossed with tomatoes, corn, and avocado-lime dressing.

I appreciate one-page menus and this one has seven pasta options, plus the nightly specials, which were cavatelli pasta with broccoli rabe and sausage and homemade gnocchi with shrimp and lobster tomato sauce. One of the most popular pastas on the menu is inspired by Avellino, Chef Vincenzo’s home town in southern Italy. Twisted pasta called fusilli are prepared with a sauce of sausages, cherry tomatoes, truffle oil and mushroom sauce for a toothsome texture and woodsy flavor that we really enjoyed. We couldn’t resist my favorite Roman pasta dish called bucatini “cacio e pepe” which is Roman cheese and black pepper mixed into bucatini pasta, which are thick spaghetti with a hole in the center. Buonissimo! “Calamarata” is a seafood medley of clams, shrimp, and mussels in a tomato-based lobster sauce. Tomato pappardelle pasta are sauced with that wonderful spinach and pistachio pesto for a colorful and healthy dish.

“Secondi” are eaten after the pasta and Senzo Unico has a fish of the day special, skirt steak that is grilled to perfection and served with potatoes and broccoli rabe, and chicken cacciatore. This classic, rustic chicken “hunter style” is roasted with bell peppers, olives, and homemade tomato sauce for a meal that is so satisfying. Soak up the juices with crusty bread from Gianpiero. The special lamb shank was an impressive hunk of bone-in lamb, served with Brussel sprouts and potatoes.

For dessert, we had a deconstructed Napoleon which was just wonderful. Layers of crisp pastry rested upon ricotta sweetened with fruit. Tiramisu is served in a glass and made with beer instead of coffee, something you will love.

Senso Unico has a nice brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 12-4 where you’ll find a selection of eggs with crispy prosciutto, frittata with spinach, tomato, and mozzarella, smoked salmon with capers and lemon, salads, burgers, and more to get your weekend going.

Call now to make reservations at Senso Unico for a memorable Mother’s Day where mom will be treated like a queen and everyone will eat like kings. Visit Senso Unico for an authentic Italian meal served in a lovely environment, hosted by a very sweet couple. Grazie!

43-04 47th Avenue
Sunnyside  347.662.6101


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