Vivaldi Ristorante & Ballroom
201-10 Cross Island Pkwy., Bayside
Hours: Tues.-Thurs. 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (lunch), 5-10 p.m. (dinner); Fri.-Sat. 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (lunch), 5-11 p.m. (dinner); Sun. 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (brunch), 4-9 p.m. (dinner).
Credit Cards: yes, all major
Parking: Private lot
Alcohol: Full bar
I recently returned to Vivaldi, located in Bayside, after having reviewed the restaurant one year ago. Immediately after walking in, it was clear that business has been good to them. With private parties throughout the establishment and boisterous crowds enjoying every bite of their food, it’s easy to see how successful Vivaldi has become.
Our host, Hoboken’s own Billy Pappas, greets his guests with a smile right away. For this particular review, I was to observe the patio, curious to see what the venue has to offer for the summer.
With a full-service bar, ample tables and chairs, beautiful greenery and a gazebo to top off the surroundings, the patio is intimate and private while still very open. You may never want to leave.
After my guest and I sat down at an outdoor table equipped with menus, Billy let us know he would send out the chef’s picks.
We began with the signature appetizer: charred octopus over a yogurt chickpea salad. This dish is a must-have. The challenge – my guest – no fan of octopus, was completely turned off by the thought of eating the charred tentacles, but the satisfactory look on my face encouraged her to try it. I soon realized that I had lost the dish, because it was eaten by my companion.
While I watched her thoroughly devour the octopus, I found myself devouring Vivaldi’s baked clams. I unknowingly finished all the clams and the bread on the table, soaking up any leftover sauce on my plate.
Next up was the tuna tartar, which had a nice hint of spice to it that paired well with the sliced apples and jicama spread among the chopped tuna.
I was highly anticipating the lamb chops Billy spoke of. But first, he brought out an entrée order of seared scallops over a perfect pea puree with baby carrots. Finally, out came the lamb, cooked at a perfect medium rare. Let me tell you, I have never seen lamb delivered with such high quality – double thick, perfectly lollipopped, juicy and exceptionally seasoned. The lamb was definitely the highlight of the meal.
It won’t be long before I make my way back to Vivaldi, as the restaurant is Grade A in every aspect. The hardest question you’ll have to answer all night is “Inside or Patio?” From there, it will be a night to remember.