Like A Trip Back To Italy
15-01 149th St., Whitestone
HOURS: Mon-Thu 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri-Sat 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sun 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
CREDIT CARDS: Yes, all major
Tratteria Neo is a trip to old Italy right in Whitestone.
Italian restaurants are numerous in Queens, and it is easy to tire of the same old standards that they offer. Pasta. Spaghetti and meatballs. Pizza. We get it. Traterria Neo gets that way more than you do, offering great food and an upscale ambience that will please any first date.
With its Mediterranean décor and reasonable portions, Traterria Neo draws more from Italia than Queens. This is good. Attentive waiters and scrumptious bread soaked in olive oil – the olives themselves are spectacular – will help you forget the Cross Island Parkway traffic that daily encroaches on your sanity. After fresh bread warmed me up, I was brought crunchier bread smothered in luscious tomatoes. A baby arugula salad followed up the bread, providing a nice healthy counter to the typical iceberg lettuce salads that dominate American restaurants. I was hardly full, but that was no problem at all. Traterria Neo was just getting started.
I thought the cavatelli pasta was a main course because it was so rich and filling, but I was wrong. Any patron of Tratteria Neo needs to try this pasta: it includes braised short ribs and ricotta cheese, an absolute delight. As I chomped on the pasta and savored the leftover olives from my salad, I assumed my dining experience, a fine one, was over. But then I was hit with the main course.
My fine host brought me sliced chicken breast, though this was no ordinary chicken breast. Surrounded by encrusted parmesan and wine sauce, I knew I had something special at the tip of my fork. Sometimes food is good enough that you pray the dining experience will not end. You savor the morsels judiciously, trying to balance your hunger with your realization that eventually, all the food will be eaten. I held on for as long as I could, and what an experience it was.
Like any good meal, mine was capped with dessert. Ample tiramisu ensured I would not go hungry for a very long time. The soft, sugary outer layer dissolved wonderfully in mouth as I greedily scooped whipped cream onto my fork.
If you are in the Whitestone area, there is no reason to not give this restaurant a shot. Your stomach will thank you later.