Taking his successful La Vigna Restaurant of Forest Hills formula of great food and service, Giuseppe (Joe) Vitale has opened another one - “Uncle Joe’s Steakhouse.” It lives up to his reputation of excellence.
When I went with my husband Stu, and friends John and Georgia Koufakis, we were all very impressed.
The restaurant’s headwaiter is Joe’s very competent, friendly and knowledgeable son, Antonio.
He greeted and seated us in the intimate (approximately 15 tables), well decorated, warmly lit space. Every seat is a good one.
Our first treat was a delicious eggplant spread augmented by the plentiful crusty bread. Then, we decided to have Uncle Joe’s antipasto and it knocked my socks off. In addition to a wonderful bruschetta were my very favorite, but rare to find, homemade, mouthwatering, soft, succulent mozzarella balls. It was so outstanding that we requested more and received the mozzarella with ripe red slices of tomatoes with basil threads dripping off them.
What a treat! Nevertheless, this was only the beginning. We also had a crispy calamari presented with a delicious, thick, homemade marinara sauce.
There are seven salads to choose from a traditional Caesar salad to an organic mesclun salad served with cherry tomatoes, walnuts and goat cheese with a raspberry dressing.
We each chose a different dish and were all delighted with our choices.
I had the New York Strip Steak cooked perfectly to my medium-rare order served with a well-priced ($5) side of saut/ed mushrooms.
Stu had a grilled veal chop served in a rich Barolo wine sauce.
The Koufakis’ shared the surf & turf and the kitchen had thoughtfully presented it already separated on two plates.
The Brazilian lobster tail was meaty and tasty and the filet mignon juicy and delicious. Obvious to us was that Joe knows his steaks and only uses prime meats. The quality shows!
There is also a fish-of-the-day and a trio of grilled lamb chops, filet mignon and chicken served on a bed of green salad. There is even a juicy burger served with French fries and saut/ed onions. Joe could make me a burger lover in no time since he grinds his meat to order.
To add to the dining experience is a great finale - dessert. My favorite was the warmed, crispy crust apple strudel. I enjoyed the Italian cheesecake just how I like it - creamy. An added treat was the lemon meringue pie. Some of the desserts are made on premises.
The warm, family-owned restaurant should be a great success. Joe brings his years of working with Lidia Bastianich at her famous Italian restaurant Felidia along with the amazingly popular Becco. This is a man who knows how to make sheer magic in his kitchen. Try it - you will love it.
Uncle Joe’s Steakhouse
100-05 Metropolitan Avenue
HOURS: Open Tuesday to Sunday after 5 p.m., Closed on Monday
CREDIT CARDS: All major cards
RESERVATIONS: Are suggested
PRICES: Appetizers from $9 to $14; Soup of the Day $5.75; Salads from $5.75 to $11.50;
Main Courses from $9.50 for Joe’s Burger to $44 for Porter House for two,
Sides are $5 each and all
Desserts are $6.50.