LI Pulse

Long Island Food Reviews
By: Richard Jay Scholem

November 2005
It would be easy to take a casual glance at Vittorio’s menu and quickly dismiss the restaurant as a predictable, unimaginative Italian spot with a roster of been-there-done-that cookie cutter dishes.

That would be a mistake. Yes, Vittorio’s features all the usual Italian suspects: baked clams, fried calamari, tri color salad, Caesar salad, lasagna, linguine with red or white clam sauce, veal piccata, shrimp Fra Diavlo, etc. But it also offers much more including friendly accommodating owners, a swift moving, knowledgeable wait staff, a warm, congenial atmosphere and most importantly, food that packs a vibrant flavor punch and makes us remember what these Italian golden oldie dishes are supposed to taste like.

Vittorio’s, with its subdued lighting, white table cloths and bare wood floors, on a modest corner of Broadway in Amityville, is in short the very kind of eating place that makes Italian food Long Island’s hands down favorite.

Despite the fact that this unsung spot is not even listed in the respected Zagat Survey of Long Island restaurants (many excellent eateries aren’t) it’s a keeper. Obviously Vittorio’s isn’t a restaurant that sets out to dazzle diners with brilliantly original dishes. Instead, it entices them with conventional, familiar fare. Try the feathery, fried calamari attractively presented with a tangy roasted garlic tomato sauce in a crisp edible shell, the wonderfully, smokey, grilled marinated shrimp or perhaps the standard, slightly mushy crab cakes on a better than average green salad with mango sauce. Best of all were two hearty, meaty American raised Kobe boneless short ribs that were slow braised in a port wine reduction and presented with a dark, gutsy sauce over a polenta base.

One of the noteworthy entrees sampled was penne New Orleans, a snappy amalgam of pasta, blackened chicken breast and andouille sausage with peppers and onions in a rich, spicy Cajun cream sauce that delivers some welcome kick. Also outstanding were three plump, double lamb chops vibrantly seasoned with a delicate garlic and rosemary crust that come with lightly garlic-smashed potatoes and asparagus. Chicken Vittorio or slightly dry, stuffed breast of chicken (mozzarella and sun dried tomatoes in a shitake port wine demi glaze) yielded pleasing flavors, as did eight, lemony pan seared sea scallops.

A fudgy chocolate layer cake with a large drift of whipped cream was the dessert I’d order again. Peanut butter overwhelmed the chocolate decadence and a champagne mousse tasted more of chocolate than champagne.

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