85-19 126th Street, Richmond Hill; 846-4065
Cuisine: Italian food, much from southern Italy, adjoining
Seating: This countrified restaurant seats 70 to 80 people,
easily accessible by wheelchairs.
Hours: Noon to 11 p.m.
Parking: In a plaza with lots of available parking.
Credit Cards: Major ones accepted.
If you feel like eating authentic Italian cuisine, skip the hassle of a
flight out of JFK, and veer off the Van Wyck Expressway to La Campagna in Richmond Hill.
La Campagna is owned and operated by 22-year-old Franco Vendome and his
uncle Tony Petito. Dont let Vendomes youth fool you he inherited his
talents from a family of restaurateurs. His parents have Ninos in Manhattan and his
aunt has Louigis in Jackson Heights.
To appease the endless fancies of your nose but a limited stomach,
start the meal off with Antipasto Caldo ($7.95). This hot mixed bag appetizer includes
eggplant rollatini with ricotta cheese, egg, mozzarella, parsley and garlic. It is also
accompanied by fresh shrimp and baked clams. Or to keep things simple, go for the
Portabello Alla Griglia ($5.95). It is grilled portabello mushroom stuffed with celery,
carrot, ground onions and shallots and garlic gloves served over mesculin and topped with
Moving on to the main course, ask Vendome if he is serving La
Campagnas special Filet of Red Snapper ($17.95). This intricate dish is flavored
with fresh garlic, onions, green olive, fresh basil, white wine, shiitake mushrooms and
onions. It also has a strong, but not overwhelming addition of anchovies.
Another fine choice is the Pollo de Ripieno ($15.95) stuffed
chicken filled with prosciutto, spinach mozzarella cheese and is sautéed with shallots,
shittake mushroom and the chefs brown sauce. If youre really hungry then
tackle the savory Castate di Vitello ($17.95). This large grilled veal chop is sautéed in
olive oil and flavored by sprinkles of fresh oregano and rosemary.
Though the meals are copious, it would be a sin to pass up on the
desserts (all priced at $4.50). Try the ever-rich traditional Tiramisu whose ladyfingers
are dipped in expresso and accompanied by heavy cream and marscipone. It would be hard to
resist the calls of La Campagnas dessert enchantress, the Pear Charlot. Standing by
its name, its a treat to eat your way into the middle layer of chocolate mousse, or
the shower of strawberry and mango Pure.