Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Vesta - An Unforgettable Birthday Dinner
Vesta - 21-02 30th Avenue, Astoria NY 11102
N/W Train to 30th Avenue
As mentioned yesterday, we celebrated Dan's actual birthday at Vesta with an intimate group of friends. In true Vesta fashion, the food was fresh and scrumptious and the service couldn't be more detail oriented. Once again, the guys at Vesta hit it out of the park. Here are some of the new things that we tried:
Pizza - I can't remember the exact name of this pizza but apparently it was new on the menu, combining a mix of different creamy cheeses. It was super thin and crispy and a bit on the well done side, which wasn't a problem--we gobbled it up in minutes. Seasoned with breadcrumbs, it made the most wonderful sound effects in my mouth - definitely a keeper.
Lasagna - Looking forward to trying a pasta entree, I along with three of my dining companions chose the three-meat ragu lasagna. What a beauty! Served in a mini red pot, it was oozing with richness and heavenly aroma. I liked that the edges of the pasta were crispy and that the inside was soft and gooey - and packed with plenty of meat. This was a general crowd pleaser and while I had no problem finishing it, it would be an easy take home dish to save for next day leftovers.
Honey Glazed Duck - This was our friend Andy's entree and he cleaned his plate in less than five minutes, no joke. I was able to get a small sliver just to sample it and it was lovely. I'm not the biggest fan of duck so it tasted a bit gamey to me but the meat itself was cooked perfectly and had nice embellishments of apricots, almonds and farro. I thought that the farro was a good idea and offered something different than potatoes or pasta.
Whole Roasted Branzino - The birthday boy chose this as his main course and while he liked the taste of it, he had a hard time dealing with all the bones. Note that this dish is very rustic and doesn't come de-boned, which is fine if you're willing to play with your food but probably not something you want if you're looking for neat food. Sauteed broccoli rabe was served as a side, making this a light meal.
Sides - We also tried two delicious side plates - roasted Brussels sprouts and creamy polenta. Both were delightful and I especially enjoyed the Brussels sprouts' smoky, well-done taste. It was a nice complement to the fish and to the pasta. The polenta was as silky as can be and provided a touch of luxury, pampering the senses to the fullest.
Chocolate Mousse Cake - This was one of my favorite desserts, right after the Baby Jesus Cake. The best part was the bittersweet chocolate sauce poured on top, and the interior mousse wasn't bad either. I liked that they added a fresh strawberry on the side, complementing the flavor of chocolate so well.
Service and Cost:
The service at Vesta has never let me down. Even though we were a big group, the staff at didn't miss a beat - always refilling our wine glasses, replenishing bread for dipping and just making sure that we were comfortable. There's an element of warmth and hospitality here that's special and can't be found anywhere else - you feel as if you're being served by close friends.
The cost was affordable. The three course dinner and wine set us back about $60 per person including tax and tip.
3 loud Mmmms