Touting itself as one of the tri-state area’s only truly authentic Croatian restaurants, Veslo brings Adriatic classics, reminiscent of grandmother’s kitchen, to modern times. While many Croatian restaurants mix in touches of Greek or Italian cuisine – attempts to appeal to a broader audience – Veslo’s dishes keep with tradition and remain strictly Croatian.
The interior is rustic with coastal elements complete with a vintage-oar-decked ceiling and fishing net embellishments. The fully-stocked bar offers its own separate menu, key for those looking to snack while they sip.
The grilled octopus – the spot’s most popular item – is served incredibly fresh with the perfect amount of char. A simple dish of tender tentacles in olive oil, garlic and lemon is the epitome of an Adriatic amuse-bouche. The stuffed mushrooms, bursting with a traditional Croatian meat mixture with celery and carrots, are topped with melted Parmesan cheese in a saffron cream sauce. With the saffron adding just the right amount of intrigue, the rich dish was easily a “must-have.”
A traditional Croatian meal, Brodetto a la Adriatico, showcases the region’s food forte of treats from the sea. Combining shrimp, sea bass, scallops, mussels and clams in a tomato and white wine broth over pasta, the flavorful dish is known for its popularity in the coastal Croatian region of Dalmatia. The restaurant’s head chef said the dish was exactly like his mother used to make.
For diners with a major meat craving, Veslo offers a mixed grill platter, outfitted with filet mignon, lamb chops, pork skewers and veal cutlets. Each perfect cut is better than the next and the platter comes adorned with a red pepper, eggplant and tomato dipping sauce.
For dessert, Veslo offers a smattering of Dalmatian-style crepes filled with Nutella, fruit marmalade and cognac custard. The phenomenal blueberry strudel, made with fresh fruit and ricotta cheese, might be one of the best things we’ve ever eaten.
32-11 Broadway, Astoria