Had dinner at Bella Via in LIC last night. Gorgeous room, warm lighting. Someone mentioned they hired a new staff that is far better than the previous. And though it was my first time there -- so I can't compare -- the current staff is terrific! The menu is a nice change of pace from the local red sauce Italian places.
I started with a salad of bresaola, arugula, and shaved parmesan. Really enjoyed it. Probably could have used a drop or two of lemon juice, but that is just me, no big deal. DH had the octopus and potato salad. Loved the idea and it was rather good, but for the grit that permeated every bite -- a slightly unpleasant distraction for what could have been an outstanding appetizer.
I was really looking forward to the spinach gnocchi I ordered, sadly, the texture of the gnocchi was off. It had no body or bite, and practically dissolved under my fork (overcooked?). Like packing foam that's been rained on. The waiter was kind and gracious about it and took it back. Determined to have pasta, I ordered the ricotta ravioli. Unfortunately for me, the bottom layer of some of the ravioli was spottily cooked, leaving me to labor chewing through some of those spots. Oh well. FH insisted that I have some of his veal. While the veal was fine [portion was small -- or was it because we were sharing? ;-)], the sides were really good! I could not get enough of the sauteed swiss chard and the roasted baby potatoes were nicely brown and crisp.
Despite that, we had a terrific time, panna cotta was on the dessert menu, and we really wanted to give this place a shot, so we stayed and ordered the panna cotta to share. It came. It was flan. We sighed and dug in. Nice flan, but it wasnt panna cotta. Sigh
Well be back, the rest of the menu looks promising but will probably avoid the pastas. I noticed a lamb shank on the menu and on another table, so Ill be giving the meat/fish portion of their menu a try. Weve had their pizzas via delivery, and while the crust loses a bit of its crispness, its a terrific pie. Just be sure to tell them to keep the fake, granular parmesan cheese off of its finish, it really ruins it.
Bella Via is at 47-46 Vernon Boulevard, LIC. 718-361-7510