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For an Italian Thanksgiving Dinner Out: "Vetro"

Thanksgiving is a hard holiday. A holiday on a weekday just feels wrong especially for those of us who have to return to work the next day. As much as I like to cook holiday meals from scratch I am happy to say that I didn’t have to this Thanksgiving. After all there are only so many years you can bake and cook on barely any sleep with a migraine ruling your life. No wonder I didn’t feel like death this year.

As an Italian no Thanksgiving is complete without a proper amount of carbs and cheese. Thus when selecting a restaurant for my extended family and I to have dinner at, my cousin made the right decision and selected Vetro.

Vetro is owned and operated by the same folks behind Howard Beach’s wildly successful wedding venue, Russo’s On The Bay. This was the first clue we were on the right track. The second occurred as soon as I stepped inside this gorgeously decked out restaurant.

The restaurant managed to accomplish the feeling of comfort and elegance at the same time. The staff is amazingly friendly and prepared. The service during the meal seemed like a choreographed act. It clearly was not their first time serving up a multi-course meal to a large room of hungry guests.

After waiting a few moments sitting on the assorted couches in the blue-lit lounge area our table was ready. We were a large group, twelve, and to my utter amazement there was PLENTY of room. We were not sitting on top of each other nor were the tables in the dining room exceedingly close to one another. The only place where room was an issue was the restroom. It was way too small for the amount of people who needed to use it.

As for the food, I had high hopes because of its association with Russo’s On The Bay. Russo’s is a catering hall known for their overly generous portions and courses of food. After a cocktail hour you can barely breathe. Entrees are finally served around eleven p.m. because there is so many other things coming your way first. I knew that we were having a price-fixe menu with four courses, included shared desserts, so I managed my expectations.

The appetizer was a plate of meat, cheeses, and perhaps the greatest tasting rice ball I have ever had. Seriously it was pure heaven. I would go back for dinner one night to eat off the regular menu just to have more than one of those. The second course was pasta with marina sauce. Both of these dishes were tasty and worked to subside the overwhelming hunger I was feeling.

When I placed my order for Riesling wine the waitress informed me that there wasn’t any available at that moment but they were happy to retrieve a bottle from the basement and open it for me. Considering I was only having a glass it pleased me greatly. It was only one glass but it was full to the top.

The entrees were the only meal we had to choose for ourselves. There had to be close to ten choices. I was torn between the steak, the eggplant tower simply because the word tower intrigued me, and the shrimp oreganata. I went with the latter.

Everyone enjoyed everything they chose. I was happy with mine even though the portions were small but it was okay because by that time I was full from all of the eating I had been doing. My shrimp could have been a bit better but I had no complaints. I tried a piece of the steak and actually liked that better. If I had ordered it I would have just needed it cooked a bit more. But for what we were paying it was well worth it. Venues like these are tricky and I know from all of the weddings and events I have been to food is always the most expensive part of an evening and usually what is not worth it at all.

Dessert was an array of cookies and pastries served on tiered trays. I absolutely loved the macarons filled with raspberry jam. My cappuccino hit the spot.  I would have probably hit those cookies harder but I was all done. I was worried I needed to be rolled out. All I could think about was getting in the car, going home, and sprawling out on my couch. Needless to say that’s exactly what I did and believe me I was thankful for that.

The night was full of food, family, laughter, and love.

Best of all there were mini-pies!!!

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