BELLAGIO: 234-19 41st Ave.,
HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE: Yes
HOURS: Tues. to Thurs., 5 to 10 p.m.; Fri.
to Sat., 5 to 11 p.m.; Sun 3 to 9 p.m.
CREDIT CARDS: All major
Bellagios philosophy is to make you feel youve
stepped into a Tuscan villa; and after eating at Bellagio, not only will you feel
transported, youll find yourself unwilling to return.
This is because Bellagio is as cozy as your own living
room. Passing through inviting golden gates, you find an altar, where a variety of Italian
Chiantis, Burgundy's, and Cabernets are showcased in display. Candlelight
dances through a domed brick facade, melding quietly into the lamplight within. And
hand-painted plaques modeled after real Italian tiles deck the foyer.
Proceeding through the hall, you find walls of lightly
stained wood; shelves with plants and pottery; antique bureaus covered in lace doilies;
and plenty of lace wall hangings. Old-fashioned oil lamps give the front room a dim
ambiance, as does the genuine wood-burning fire that warms the back room. Its
pastoral paradise in a Victorian bedroom.
And speaking of paradise: the food. We started with the
Insalate Del Glardiao, a melange of marinated red peppers, eggplant, zucchini, and
mushrooms. Sprinkled with fresh pepper, the peppers were as sweet as they were sharp, and
the eggplant was grilled to perfection. And the homemade zucchini bread, loaded with
cinnamon and nuts, was like a dessert before the meal.
Then the main course. My guest and I shared the Conchiglie
Siciliano, shell-shaped pasta with chopped eggplant, zucchini and fresh tomatoes, and the
Pollo Contadina, grilled chicken breast served with fresh herbs, chopped endive, arugula,
ridicchio, and other spices. The Conchiglie (a favorite pasta of mine), got on famously
with the chunky red sauce and bites of eggplant, and the Pollo, to quote my guest, was a
perfect piece of chicken: thin and totally fatless.
We then moved on to dessert: Chocolate Mousse for me (the
Italian sweet-tooth strikes again) and a strawberry-drizzled cheesecake for my guest. We
were enamored. The mousse was creamy, cold and crumbly in its chocolate shell, and the
cheesecake was spectacular in its warm graham cracker crust. Both pieces were served on
festive platters of drizzled strawberry sauce, and garnished with the berry itself.
Finally, over tall, steaming mugs of cappuccino, we
discussed business with Bellagios headmaster, Culinary Institute of America graduate
Craig DelloIacono. He said the restaurant, being a mere four weeks old, is still adapting
to its growing personality. For example, Bellagios amphibious location is attracting
a seafood set, and so more and more fish is being served. They are also experimenting with
a more Continental cuisine, as evinced by potatoes trés Francaise, and a distinctively
American 14 oz. steak.
So for on-the-water elegance or a cozy night for two, try
Bellagio. We also recommend them if you're having a party (Bellagio caters to up to 90
people). And be sure to act now: once Douglastons best-kept secret gets out, the
line is sure to be around the block.