Sheepshead Bay

Leaders of politics, business, education gather for memorable meal

Mangia! Welcome to the Brooklyn Eagle's Dining Club!

November 30, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Owner Agron Kelmendi presents a luscious appetizer — Shrimp Casino.

Vittoria Seafood & Grill, a restaurant on Sheephead Bay’s restaurant row, was the setting for a memorable dinner enjoyed by a group of political, business, education and health care leaders brought together for the occasion by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

The dinner guests included: Assemblymember Steve Cymbrowitz and his wife Vilma Huertas; Dozier Hasty, owner of EBrooklyn Media LLC, which publishes the Brooklyn Daily Eagle; Dan Holt, of Statewide Management; Alex Shchegol, president of Asa College; Roberto S. Dumaual, vice president of government and community relations at Asa College; Dominic Mascara, director of community outreach for the Visiting Nurse Service of New York; John Holt, of Statewide Management; Nicholas J. Fiore, a certified public accountant; Brad Korn, corporate director of community affairs for the Mount Sinai Health System; Eric Huebscher, president and CEO of Huebscher and Co., and his wife Dr. Rona Appel; banker Bill Bozza of JP Morgan Chase; Terry Lyght, owner of Archiebald, Inc.; and Jackee Namwila of Namsi Healthcare Consulting.

Vittoria Seafood & Grill, located at 3081 Emmons Ave., provided a warm and welcoming atmosphere for the dinner guests who took part in the Sept. 30 repast.

Owners Agron Kelmendi and Kenny Aliu pride themselves on paying attention to every detail. They opened their restaurant in January.

“We want to give the people a nice night out,” Kelmendi told the Eagle. “Forget your troubles, come to our restaurant, relax and enjoy yourself.”

In addition to the main dining room, there is a banquet room for parties and meetings. On the night we visited, the staff was preparing the banquet room for the Kiwanis Club.

The restaurant also boasts outdoor seating, where diners can enjoy a meal and catch a warm breeze from Sheepshead Bay nearby.

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What they create in the kitchen of Vittoria Seafood & Grill is a variety of dishes sure to make the mouth water at just the thought of taking a bite.

Kelmendi, Aliu and their attentive wait staff brought out bottles of wine and tray after tray of appetizers to start off the evening.

Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz and his wife Vilma Huertas said they enjoy the ambience of the restaurant.

The tasty appetizers included Shrimp Casino, composed of jumbo shrimp stuffed with spinach, breadcrumbs and Parmigiano and Romano cheeses. The shrimp is lovingly wrapped in thick slices of bacon. Other appetizers included a serving of Maryland Crab Cakes, coated in panka bread crumbs and topped with a touch of lobster meat in a light cream sauce.

There were also pizza pies and antipasto trays filled with mixed cheeses, prosciutto, mortadella and ham.

The guests had a great time choosing from among a dazzling array of entrees listed on the menu.

John Holt and Terry Lyght decided to split an order of baked clams.

“I had them when I dined here before and they were excellent,” Holt pronounced.

Dominic Mascara (left) and John Holt both said the food was outstanding.

Dr. Rona Appel went with the Eggplant Rollatini and offered an opinion of the crab cakes, which she had tasted moments earlier.

“They’re to die for!’ she exclaimed.

Her husband, Eric Huebscher, had Rigatoni Matricana. Brad Korn’s choice was Seafood Risotto. Nicholas J. Fiore and Roberto S. Dumaual enjoyed branzino.

Dan Holt ordered a plate of Baked Ziti. Alex Shchegol looked like he was happy with his choice: a T-bone steak. Dominic Mascara savored every bite of his Atlantic salmon.

“It’s delicious,” he said. “I’ve had salmon in a lot of different restaurants and sometimes it’s so dry. This is so juicy and tender.”

The dinner conversation flowed freely and easily. Mascara regaled his fellow diners with stories of his childhood, when he caught the acting bug early and was accepted into the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. As a teenager, he attended the High School of Performing Arts.

“When I was a senior, Freddie Prinze was a freshman,” he said, referring to the 1970s comic icon who starred in the television show “Chico and the Man.”

“Dominic was a child actor,” Dan Holt said, admiringly.

At one point, Bill Bozza cheerfully pitched in to de-bone Roberto S. Dumaual’s fish.

Terry Lyght, who has lived in Sheepshead Bay for 38 years, talked about the changes the neighborhood has undergone over the past three decades.

“Emmons Avenue used to be all restaurants, for years. It still has a lot of restaurants, but now condos are being built,” he said.

He even shared a juicy detail about the spot where everyone was enjoying dinner that evening.

“This place was originally two bungalows,” he said.

Dan Holt and Dr. Appel recalled a dinner they both attended at Windows on the World, the restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center.

“It was in June of 2001,” Holt revealed.

It was just months before Sept. 11.

Assemblyman Cymbrowitz and his wife had to leave the dinner early to go to a meeting. But they took servings of food with them.

If you plan to dine at Vittoria Seafood & Grill, be sure to bring a hardy appetite.

The appetizers include Cajun Shrimp and Baked Calamari, Fried Zucchini, Fried Calamari and Zuppa di Mussels.

The soup choices include Minestrone, Pasta Fagioli, New England Clam Chowder, and Manhattan Clam Chowder.

The salads could turn anyone into a vegetarian. Choose from among a Mango Salad with a light citrus dressing, a Mediterranean Antipasto for two, and Caprese Toscana (the house salad with fresh mozzarella, tomato, roasted bell pepper, sundried tomatoes, capers, and prosciutto). The Caesar Salad can also be served with chicken or shrimp. There’s also Arugula & Noci (containing baby arugula, walnuts and sundried tomatoes, served with an olive oil lemon vinaigrette and topped with shaved parmesan cheese), Spinach Salad, Insalata Tre Colori, and Insalata Mela, among others.

The entrée menu is divided up among chicken, fish, veal and grilled items.

If you love chicken, you’ll be happy to know that your choices include Chicken Romano, Chicken Emiliano and Pollo alla Vittoria, composed of chicken stuffed with spinach and ham, fresh mozzarella, mushrooms and asparagus, served in a cream sauce.

Fish lovers can choose from among Branzino, Atlantic Salmon, Lobster, Bluefish and other seafood delights.

The menu also has Veal Marsala, Veal Franchese and Veal alla Vittoria, served with asparagus, mushrooms, onions and prosciutto in a cognac cream sauce.

Those who prefer to have their food prepared on the grill can choose New York Strip Steak, Ribeye Steak, Filet Mignon, Lamb Chops, Grilled Pork Chops and other dishes.

Vittoria Seafood & Grill is open for lunch and dinner. For more information, call 718-646-3800, or visit www.vittoriaseafoodandgrill.

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