Summer of Celebration at Vetro Restaurant & Lounge
Vetro, the new contemporary Italian restaurant & lounge overlooking Jamaica Bay in Howard Beach, is redrawing the map for upscale dining in New York City. Vetro has quickly caused a buzz among serious foodies with executive chef Michael DeGeorgio’s innovative interpretation of Italian cuisine. Now, its waterfront outdoor patio and rooftop lounge open for the summer.
Vetro, the new contemporary Italian restaurant & lounge overlooking Jamaica Bay in Howard Beach, is redrawing the map for upscale dining in New York City. Since its opening in October, this new venture from the owners of the legendary local caterer Russo’s On The Bay has quickly caused a buzz among serious foodies with executive chef Michael DeGeorgio’s innovative interpretation of Italian cuisine. Now, with its waterfront outdoor patio and rooftop lounge open for the summer, Vetro is more than ever a culinary destination for all seasons – and for all food-lovers.
Working with chef DeGeorgio and designer Bob Goldberg of Interior Design Force, Russo has realized this vision in a remarkable way. To make the most of Vetro’s waterfront location, Goldberg’s décor intentionally blurs the visual distinctions between interior and exterior, land and water, in a series of richly understated spaces that are all clear light and air, with open vistas to the bay. This atmosphere is further enhanced by updated design details in Venetian glass that pay subtle homage to another famed seaside setting: there are glass tiles, chandeliers, a glass waterfall and specially-commissioned hand-blown glass artworks, all adding distinction to the decor, and all underscoring Vetro’s sense of modern luxury (“Vetro” is the Italian word for a pane of glass).
Though perfectly framed by the decor, it is of course Vetro’s food that is the real heart of the experience. For Vetro, chef DeGeorgio, a Culinary Institute of America graduate and 22-year veteran of New York’s restaurant scene, has developed a menu that he describes as focused on “creative and classic Italian cuisine.” In practice, this means an emphasis on the freshest seasonal ingredients and a fundamental respect for home-cooking traditions, leavened by some innovative variations, along with taste combinations that, while familiar in Italy, are less common on this side of the Atlantic.
For instance, while DeGeorgio can turn out a strikingly simple jumbo shrimp oreganate or purely classic roasted bone-in chicken Scarpariello, he also offers grilled yellow fin tuna with figs, honey and gorgonzola, and tops a flame-grilled veal chop with a signature pistachio sauce.
Beyond the original offerings on Vetro’s main menu, diners interested in expanding their gastronomic horizons can take advantage of DeGeorgio’s special regional menus, which provide three- or five-course tastings focused on signature cooking from various parts of Italy. The most recent menu, for instance, served up dishes in the style of Abruzzo, an east coast region whose extremes (which range from some of the highest mountains in Italy to some of its most remote white sand beaches) are reflected in diverse cuisine, as well as a penchant for heavily-spiced food: thus, Vetro’s Abruzzo salute includes everything from a cold salad of calamari and octopus; spaghetti served with meatless meatballs made from mountain sheep cheeses and egg; and a fiery Abbacchio al Diavolo, leg of lamb slow-roasted with olives and hot peppers. Vetro’s regional menus rotate every two weeks; the summer calendar includes menus from Molise, Sicily and Puglia.
Vetro’s original cuisine, wine values and welcoming atmosphere have quickly attracted attention in food circles. Despite being open for only eight months, Vetro has already shot to the top of OpenTable’s Diners’ Choice™ ratings, taking its place alongside – or above – such long-established leaders as Le Bernadin, Daniel and PerSe. Currently, it heads the list of all tri-state region restaurants for “Best Food” and “Best Italian Food,” and ranks number two for “Best Overall” (second only to the internationally-acclaimed Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills). That a new restaurant in Howard Beach could attract such ratings from OpenTable users is especially gratifying for the Vetro team, given the generally Manhattan-centric nature of most dining ratings in the region.
While the food alone could justify a special trip to Howard Beach, Russo and his team are also working hard to make Vetro a stand-out destination for entertainment and special events. Over Memorial Day Weekend, Vetro opened its waterfront outdoor patio, offering 65 seats for outdoor dining (plus 13 boat slips for arrivals by sea), special Sunday brunch, afternoon grill menus and live music.
“With Vetro, we have tried to create something new, a level of fine dining and entertainment that’s a gem in Howard Beach, and that sets a standard for the entire region” says Russo. “But at heart, we’re still doing what we’ve always believed in at Russo’s On The Bay: we are dedicated to giving people a memorable experience that they can treasure for the rest of their lives. At Vetro, we want to make every day a special occasion.”
For more information on Vetro Restaurant and Lounge – or to schedule a visit – please contact: Fran Harrow at 917-828-6382.