Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Skip the city, I'm going to La Vigna

By Eric Guido

As I think of all the amazing restaurant experiences that I have put to paper, I realize that one is truly overdue. Seven years ago, after Babbo refused my eight-month pregnant wife and I a seat after waiting over an hour in line (by the way, that was the last time I ever went to Babbo), we found ourselves searching for a dining experience that would not disappoint. Our search took us out of the city and slowly making our way toward home. We were hungry, tired and truly disappointed—until we happened upon La Vigna.

Calamari Ripieni (Calamari stuffed 
with risotto and vegetables in tomato broth)
It was an eye-opening experience. The staff provided perfect service, the food was absolutely amazing, rivaling anything I could have hoped for--and the wine (oh, the wine): a bottle of 2001 Guado al Tasso for only $95 dollars. It was on that night that I realized I had been shortsighted for a very long time. Trekking out to the city in search of a superior Italian meal had become completely unnecessary.

With La Vigna's affordable corkage fee
I often find myself pairing my favorites
from my cellar with their cuisine.
Now fast forward seven years and, to this day, I continue to visit La Vigna whenever possible. Anytime I need to show weary foodies that great cuisine exists in Queens, I take them to La Vigna. Wine dinners and tastings close to home? I go to La Vigna. Birthdays, anniversaries, and visiting family are all great reasons for me to head to La Vigna. Yet somehow I have never put these thoughts to paper. An oversight—maybe, or possibly, I just wanted to keep it secret, in fear of ruining my little find. However, if I have learned anything in these seven years, it’s that La Vigna is here to stay and they march to the beat of their own drum, remaining unchanged in all the right ways.

Orecchiette  (Fresh pasta served with 
chicory, wild mushrooms, and guanciale 
in garlic and olive oil)
Located on Metropolitan Ave in Forest Hills Queens, La Vigna finds itself tucked into small, unassuming spot that makes it very easy to pass unnoticed. However, stepping in the door, you are greeted by a friendly, knowledgeable staff that caters to locals and new faces alike. It’s close and personal, yet uncramped, with visions of Italy decorating the walls. You’ll find it easy to fall into a comfortable state at La Vigna, surrounded by wood tones, Tuscan colors and candlelight and enjoying a plate a fresh made pasta, or my favorite, the Costoleta di Vitello alla Vigna.

Chef Vitale
Of course, the real treat here is the food, which I find comparable to anything you will find at the best Italian restaurants in the city and there's a good reason why; before opening his restaurant, Chef Vitale worked with Lidia Bastianich at the famed Felidia, as well as Becco and her original location in Forest Hills, Bona Via.

I urge you to take a trek of your own and find La Vigna. I guarantee you, you’ll find yourself thanking me later.

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