Vicolo, which means “little alley” in Italian, is not located in a little alley in Brooklyn, but on the corner of 86th Street and 3rd Avenue in Bay Ridge. Co-owners and cousins Domenick and Mario Abitino opened Vicolo in October of 2012 and have since been treating Brooklyn to cuisine inspired by their Southern Italian roots. Executive Chef Bruno Milone (from Bari, Italy) oversees the menu, which includes pizza made in a neat looking wood-fired brick oven, fresh pasta made daily, and an assortment of antipasti.
Mr. Yummy Brooklyn and I recently took a ride down to Bay Ridge to check it out. We sat on the South side of the restaurant, in a sunny room (a little alley, perhaps?) with wall-to-wall windows looking out on the town. It was the perfect setting for a relaxing Sunday lunch, which for us started with a Negroni. For those not familiar with this Yummy Brooklyn favorite, a Negroni is a classic Italian cocktail made up of equal parts gin, campari, and vermouth. It’s a little bitter, a little sweet, and very yummy.
The food proved to be very yummy as well, starting with the special burrata appetizer. It was our first experience with this type of cheese, which is essentially a ball of mozzarella filled with a heavenly mozzarella and cream mixture. Served with tomatoes, arugula, olives, and red onion, it was exactly as our server Matt promised it would be: off the hook. No wonder Vicolo imports it from Italy on a weekly basis!
The Spaghetti allo Scoglio was a medley of seafood in a light tomato sauce. It was full of flavor, but not overly heavy, making it an excellent lunchtime pasta. Tender calamari and spaghetti made fresh from Vicolo’s pasta machine made it a memorable dish that I look forward to ordering again.
And of course, we couldn’t eat at Vicolo without trying a pizza! We ordered the Pizza Italiana and were delighted when it came topped in an Italian flag of arugula, fresh mozzarella, and cherry tomatoes. The pizza was served on a “Golfo di Napoli” plate and with each slice revealed another city on the Gulf of Naples. This was probably the closest I have ever been to eating pizza in Italy, and it was delicious.
Our meal ended on a sweet note with the Torta della Nonna, a lemony cheese cake in a crust of pine nuts. The pressure was on as anything named “Nonna” reminds me of my Nonna and therefore better be good. Luckily, Vicolo’s Torta della Nonna delivered. It was tart and tasty, and didn’t stand a chance against Mr. Yummy Brooklyn’s fork.
Before we left we were treated to one last thing: the tantalizing aroma of Truffled Taglioline being prepared table-side for a lucky group of Vicolo patrons, twirled inside a hollowed out wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano. I’ll soon be making a return trip to Bay Ridge just for that. Who’s with me?