It was a hot and humid night but that didn’t stop us from getting together in the beautiful outdoor patio at Vinum restaurant in Staten Island.
Michele: I ordered the VEAL MEATBALLS as an appetizer. Not to my surprise, since I had heard by word of mouth, they were scrumptious. These small meatballs were tender with a surprise melted cheese in its center. With a plentiful covering of a creamy, bechamel mushroom sauce, these meatballs were oh, so yummy!
The Veal Meatballs
For my main course I ordered the FETTUCINE with SHORT RIB RAGU. Here’s where we parted ways. I have ordered this dish in other restaurants and what I expected was luscious strands of the beef short rib right off the bone and swirled into my pasta. This version was small cubed pieces of short rib. Looking at it, one would never know it was meat from beef short ribs. Adding creamy sauce to it still didn’t impress me. Perhaps, with more salt and cheese it would have pumped up the flavor.
The Fettucine with Short Ribs Ragu
What was perfection, was the company. Being with friends again is the best food for our soul.
Billa: I skipped the appetizer and went right for the main course - THE TRUFFLE - "purses of fresh pasta filled with a blend of cheeses in a creamy white truffle & wild mushroom sauce.” It was heavenly; earthy, flavorful and addictive.
For dessert, I opted for the light, airy PISTACHIO MOUSSE, encased in a chocolate dome with a fresh strawberry surprise in the middle - sheer perfection.
Pistachio Mousse Pistachio Mousse - Inside view
There was only one negative in my experience that night, I know Vinum is all about the wine, but I wish they had an interesting alcohol-free alternative. As it is, all they could offer me were sodas.
Luci: Vinum is one of the best restaurants on Staten Island. Unlike the other boroughs of New York City, Staten Island does not offer a lot of great dining experiences. Vinum stands out. It has attractive indoor and outdoor dining spaces with charming decorative touches. From the first greeting, the staff is pleasant, attentive and helpful. They seem to like working there and that's always a plus for me. The main attraction is, of course, the food. The ingredients consistently taste fresh and you can count on careful and interesting preparations. The results are usually excellent. There are good selections of wine, cured and game meats, cheeses, and small and large plates.
The Blues Salad
My choices included THE BLUES – a salad of Bibb lettuce, crumbled blue cheese, walnuts, red wine poached pears, and sweet dry fig balsamic dressing. The ingredients on their own were very good but I found the vinegar in the dressing too strong. This may reflect a personal preference for a light touch with acidic substances. There’s a five-choice meatball menu: Italian, sausage, chicken, lamb and veal. I adore them all. I had the veal this time and, as usual, it was a treat. The PISTACHIO MOUSSE: served cool but not taste-diminishing cold, a perfect summer dessert! Great tastes and neat texture contrasts made it a winner. Its dark and crisp chocolate coating crackled satisfyingly with each bite. The middle layer of pistachio mousse was rich with taste but light and airy in mouth feel with a strawberry center that delivered yet another taste and another texture. A firm base with crumbly, cookie-like texture completed this delightful, delectable dessert.
As Michele noted, it was wonderful to again get together for an evening out. The Covid year was too long.