DINING OUT: Vesuvio

April 4, 2013 Denise Romano
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Vesuvio has been a neighborhood mainstay for the past 60 years and it’s no surprise why.

The Third Avenue institution opened its doors in 1953 as a small pizzeria. In 1979, the Viscoso family took over and opened a small restaurant next door two years later. In 2002, the space was renovated and became one big eatery.

“It’s still a casual, family-oriented atmosphere, but we still consider ourselves a pizzeria,” explained Antonio Viscoso, who now runs the restaurant with his father, Nino, who still supervises the kitchen.

The menu features “home-cooked comfort food” made Neapolitan style using family recipes.

“We have big portions, it’s inexpensive and the quality is good. In this business, it’s hard to please everyone, but we try our best to please as much as we can,” Viscoso said. “My dad still checks up, making sure everything is up to standards. Recipes have not changed. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

We can assure you that nothing needs to be changed about Vesuvio’s food.

We started out with Calamari Fritti ($11.25) which was served with marinara sauce. It featured lightly breaded rings of calamari that didn’t taste fishy or gummy. The crispiness paired well with the slightly sweet sauce.

Next up was Bruschetta ($7.75), which was perfectly toasted Italian bread topped with chopped tomatoes, basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. The balsamic cut any tartness from the tomato and the flavors mingled in harmony on the tongue.

One of us absolutely loved the Mozzarella di Casa salad ($9.50) that consisted of beautiful, silky slices of fresh cheese, roasted red peppers and tomato topped with olive oil, garlic and fresh black pepper. The flavors were comforting, familiar and heart-warming.

We also enjoyed Focaccia (complimentary with dine-in orders) which was just thick, hearty, delightfully yeasty Italian bread topped with tomato sauce. It was simply delicious and did not need anything else.

Then we tried a personal size Quattro Gusti pizza ($9.75) which could have easily fed four people! It was crispy and thin, just how we like it and topped with fresh mozzarella and marinara sauce, and sections of prosciutto, artichoke hearts, mushrooms and black olives. It tasted savory and delicate. Brava!

Next up was the Barese Pasta ($12.75, add sausage for $3 more and/or fresh pasta for $2 more), which featured broccoli rabe, red pepper flakes, garlic and olive oil. We opted for fresh cavatelli and added the sausage. What can we say? It was totally delicious. The broccoli rabe was not bitter at all and was drowning in fresh garlic. Everything blended together deliciously.

Somehow we made room for dessert. Both selections we enjoyed are homemade from scratch.

The Warm Chocolate Cake ($7.50) was baked valhrona chocolate topped with vanilla ice cream and surrounded by strawberries and blueberries. It was warm, gooey, heaven inside but not too overwhelming.

The Tiramisu ($6) was delightful. The delicate lady fingers were dipped in espresso and layered with whipped mascarpone. It was creamy, rich and smooth with a dusting of cinnamon on top.

Vesuvio also has an Xpress lunch menu valid Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It features a choice of appetizer, entrée and beverage for $9.75 plus tax. The restaurant also features Pasta Tuesdays, when all eat-in pasta dishes are $9.95.

Andiamo!

Vesuvio

7303-07 Third Avenue

718-745-0222

www.vesuviobayridge.com

Monday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Free delivery

Catering and private party room available


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