Monday, November 18, 2013
Venturing out to Venturo
Ever since I've found out about Venturo, the newest outpost from the guys that run Vesta and Pachanga Patterson, I knew I wanted to check it out. Promising a cozy, comfort food experience in an intimate setting in Sunnyside, I didn't need to hear more to know I wanted to experience it. My brother Peter and I headed there on Saturday and totally dug it - from the friendly vibe to the down-home delectable food.
Located in a prime location on Queens Blvd, near 44th Street, Venturo is easy to find and it's also subway accessible. Surrounded by a few disparate establishments such as a pet store, an Irish pub, not far from the old Meat Boutique (now closed), Venturo really stands on its own, as it's the only one of its kind in the neighborhood.
Once you walk in, you feel not unlike you do at Vesta or Pachanga Patterson. The space is small and intimate, but it has a certain buzz and charm. On a Saturday evening, it was packed to the gills, and I was glad I had the foresight to make a reservation. There's a small bar in the center of the dining room, which is similar to the setup at Vesta. I appreciate the varied clientele, from young professionals, families, singles ready to mingle and the like.
Given that the menu is quite simple and short, it's not difficult to make a decision. Since I was limited by my gluten free diet this week, I couldn't try the pastas, but will definitely come back for them next time around.
Cauliflower and Raisins - We ordered this dish as a starter, even though it's technically a side. Loving the sweetness that came from the golden raisins, we devoured the cauliflower, which was beautifully separated into bite sized florets. Enjoying the lovely texture, which was quite tender, it's certainly a unique take on a sometimes underrated vegetable.
Stuffed Trout - Since I was limited in my food options, I chose the stuffed trout, which sounded and looked delicious. I'm not sure what I imagined when reading its description, but I was in awe at how gorgeous and rustic it looked. The taste was excellent, as the fish was flaky and buttery, while the skin remained crispy and nicely seasoned with fresh herbs. My favorite aspect was the pesto, which the fish rested on, and I scooped it up with my fork and smeared it onto the already flavorful skin. Adoring how garlicky it all was, it packed a lot of flavor and personality.
Eggplant Lasagna - Peter couldn't resist a pasta dish, but at the same time was curious to try something new, so he went with this "pasta free" concoction. Made of layers of breaded eggplant, cheese, tomato sauce and a creamy bechamel sauce, it was the epitome of a fall comfort dish. I had a little bite sans the breadcrumbs of course, and was totally obsessed.
Service and Cost:
Just like at Vesta or Pachanga Patterson, the service at Venturo was unassuming yet efficient and in general took care of business. Even though the place was packed on a Saturday night and people were hustling, we always felt well taken care of.
Costs are moderate to inexpensive for the high quality of food and the nice atmosphere. Like I said, the only one of its kind right now.
Appetizers - $8 - $18
Pizza & Pasta - $12 - $15
Entrees - $17 - $22
Venturo - 44-07 Queens Blvd, Sunnyside NY 11375
7 Train to 46th Street