Vetro by Russo's

Last month I was invited to a wonderful night of food and wine at Vetro by Russo's.  This enormous Italian spot is located right on the edge of Howard Beach with stunning views of the water from every angle including an outdoor patio and a gorgeous rooftop bar.

It was a gray, cloudy day when we dined so although the outdoors looked wonderful the inside was a much better option.  We began with a few drinks at the cozy bar from their WineEmotion system.  Vetro won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence last year and their passion for wine is defined by General Manager and Sommelier PJ Connolly.

He took us down to their wine cellar, something Vetro is very proud to have again. The original was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy and the entire restaurant actually had to close for months due to severe damage. 

After the tour we entered the main dining room for dinner.  PJ began the meal with a trio of wines including one of his very own the Connolly Hill, Daou Vineyard 2011 Reserva; a gorgeous blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cab Franc and Merlot.

Then it was onto pasta prepared by Chef Michael DeGeorgio.  An incredibly toothsome Cavatelli Bolognese and a sumptuous Ravioli DeGeorgio stuffed with mounds of fresh Maine Lobster and covered in a thick sauce of cognac, creme and tomato.  

The Cavatelli was so amazing I would honestly come back for that dish alone but I must also mention the Pollo alla Romana, a Boneless Chicken with Broccoli Rabe, Roasted Pepper and Mozzarella.

It was a warm and hearty dish (yummm...garlic and butter) that reminded of the classic Italian dishes my college roommate used to bring from home.  

Dessert followed in a decadent and whimsical fashion.  There were truffles studded with pistachio, a big boozy tiramisu and crisp chocolate chip praline shells stuffed with cannoli cream.  

I don't often think of fine dining out in Howard Beach but Vetro certainly changed my mind.  The service and atmosphere were excellent, the food was divine and I loved how it could fit both a big family gathering and a date night out.