Our Delicious Neighbor
150-07 14th Rd., Whitestone
Hours: 11 am - 11 pm
Credit Cards: All Major
Big deal restaurants: you hear their named murmured among the City's foodies with fervor. But the humbler among us, keeps our little secrets to ourselves.
Great food, a cozy setting, friendly staff and family atmosphere are the most you can demand of any Italian restaurant. Villaggio delivers on all fronts (not to mention it's down the block from our office).
My guest and I were seated at a table and immediately were struck by the restaurant's mural-laden walls. Italian vistas galore, giving the place an expansive feel.
Most striking were the brass name plates saddled alongside nearly all the tables. Apparently, Villaggio reminds the regulars where to sit when they're visiting, much like in typical Italian families, Apologies to Ron and Linda Wolchok. We took your spot for a night. (The Queens Tribune's table was taken.)
For those who actually do want to sit outdoors, there is a portico.
For antipasto, we were offered a sampler platter of Villaggio's best. The fried calamari avoid the trap of being fishy tasting mini-tires, instead filling the few gaps left by the audaciously delicious marinara sauce. (Rumor has it the marinara will be sold on its own soon).
Baked clams and fried shrimp rounded off our off-land fare, with the clams being perfectly seasoned while the shrimp offered a perfectly-cooked vehicle for the marinara sauce.
Also on our plate were eggplant rollatini, stuffed with ricotta, spinach and parmigiano cheese in tomato sauce. The results were bordering on the divine.
Next, we split a neat helping of rigatoni alla Siciliana, sautéed eggplant and black olives mixed in a light tomato sauce and topped with shaving of dry goat cheese. Culinarily, you can count the traps here on both hands. Overdo one ingredient, and you drown out the rest. But this was a balanced helping, both delightful and robust in all the right ways.
We topped off our meal with chicken parm - leave out the full name, you know what it is. And we're back to that tomato sauce, which leaves an indelibly good mark on all it manages to cover. Thankfully, it enhanced what has become the blasé standby in Italian kitchens everywhere.
My guest and I left, reeling with bloated bellies from the meal we ate. I promised to keep the place a secret, like the humble gourmand I am. But I guess the word is out. Get to Villaggio, quick.