47-30 Vernon Blvd., L.I.C
Credit Card: Yes, all major
I am not a restaurant reviewer by trade or by hobby. But, recently I had the privilege of dining at Testaccio Ristorante Italiano on Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City. The reason for my visit was to shoot a pilot for a TV series called “Culinary Kidnap” – where we take unsuspecting passersby from the street on a culinary adventure to a dining establishment and cuisine that is not their usual. For the purposes of the pilot, I stood in for what would normally have been real life “victims.”
As a producer, working behind the scenes – my access to the kitchen, to the staff, the chef and Testaccio’s General Manager David Green was out of the ordinary. So, for me, I’m not just reflecting on a meal, but on an experience – and oh what an experience it was.
Our on-screen host, comedienne and Queens native Stacey Prussman, is what she calls a vegan pescatarian. So, from shrimp to calamari to a Tuscan salad, her needs were met. For myself and my filmmaker extraordinaire Cyril Mahe, we hankered for beef with our pasta and shrimp. We were not disappointed. In fact, we were surprised by the dish – crisp steak fries, creamed spinach with a piece of flank steak marinated in espresso. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Well, I had not – and I was happy to combine two of my favorite vices together (beef and caffeine) into one delectable experience.
So, as I said, I’m no writer. But, I know what I like when I see it and eat it. If you are in Long Island City, you should visit this area just off the Vernon Jackson stop on the 7 train, as there are many other restaurants featuring Cuban, French, Italian, Pub Fare, Sushi and of course, exquisite Italian food from Testaccio.