Vetro's by Russo's on the Bay, Howard Beach, NY (15 min from JFK airport)
This amazing Italian American restaurant is a classic in its neighborhood, where all the locals go to celebrate important events. It's their only local "nice" place and as such, is not cheap (except by SF standards, LOL). But the food was delicious, and more important at this level, the service was PHENOMENAL. Vetro's maintains the classic tradition of an experienced, well-trained maitre d'hotel. The entire staff is warmly welcoming and attentive, making dinner - after a long tiring flight from the West Coast - an absolute delight.
I had the veal chop - a massive yet absolutely fork-tender delight. My spouse had the massive 2-1/2 lb Maine lobster, served 'diavolo' style. Our guest had a special of Atlantic salmon with a bluefin crab topping in a light, lemony sauce - spectacular!
If you are flying in to JFK and looking for a nice dinner without going into NYC, we highly recommend Vetro's. They have their own parking lot for added security, important when you're in a rental car piled with suitcases.
This is the kind of restaurant that used to exist in North Beach in SF, but was already dying out under the hordes of tourists when I moved out here in the early 1970's. Vetro's food was excellent but the service brought it over the top. No pretentious, imitation-classy; just welcoming and perfect attentiveness and timing. We would welcome the chance to return to Vetro's some day!