A Touch of Venice…what a perfect name for what my family and I experienced. And what a warm welcome we received at this inviting restaurant! I knew we were in for a treat. Located at what used to be Fisherman’s Rest in Cutchogue, Brian Pennacchia and his father Ettore’s renovated space has become something beautiful. Fisherman’s Rest had been closed for roughly nine years and the renovation took about four months. The Pennacchias made a wonderful decision to relocate the eatery, which had previously been located in Mattituck, their restaurant and this new location made a lovely pair.
As we glanced around the corner of the restaurant, we couldn’t help but notice a gorgeous wine cellar just around the corner. The younger Pennacchia explained he needed this built specifically for his “reds.” As we rounded the corner we discovered where we would be seated, outside under an umbrella to keep us from the burning sun.
Before we were served we were given water but this water had slices of lemon, lime and oranges. It was a refreshing way to start off the afternoon after the Dan’s Papers PotatoHampton 5K Minithon run. Our waitress, Kathryn Zukowski, was so sweet as she brought my parents and me the appetizers. First was their fresh bruschetta, made with specialty grilled ciabatta bread. Fresh doesn’t even explain my experience with this starter. It was so light, and the extra-large tomatoes in the bruschetta made the dish spectacular. Normally a bruschetta has diced tomatoes, but here they were the star of the dish. With a dollop of goat cheese on top, the dish was perfection and the taste really exploded in my mouth. The next appetizer was grilled calamari with pancetta and white beans. The sauce, made with white wine, lemon, rosemary, thyme and the fat rendered from the pancetta, was so tasty. It was also a light course to get me started for the main event.
My mother ordered the local fluke, and I could rave about this dish for hours. The fish was lightly- dusted with polenta and served over arugula, with yellow and red tomatoes, capers and olives. There was an ever so light – but just enough – taste of the fluke shining through. The meal my father was served was veal rollatini stuffed with prosciutto and cheese. The veal sat atop a beautifully thick Marsala sauce accompanied by mushrooms, all served with a golden brown rice ball filled with cheese and fresh herbs. I ordered the balsamic-grilled marinated shrimp with vegetables and capellini, a pasta somewhere in between spaghetti and angel hair, with a hole in the middle, the perfect pasta to absorb a sauce. Considering this was a balsamic dish, I was concerned the balsamic was going to be too strong; and to my pleasant surprise it was airy and lively. It was absolutely delicious. The sauce was perfect for three jumbo shrimp, and I mean jumbo-sized shrimp, grilled perfectly.
The meal was fabulous and quite filling, but what would it be without homemade desserts? Being in an Italian restaurant, I just had to order the tiramisu. When it arrived, it was beautifully served in a wide mug with two lady fingers tucked into the dessert. We also had the Italian cheesecake with candied lemon on top. It was so fluffy and didn’t taste anything like an ordinary cheesecake. The candied lemon was a perfect addition, not too tart but not too sweet. Finally, my father had to try a coffee drink that sounded so out of the ordinary. It had Meledie Italian Chocolate Liqueur with Salerno Blood Orange Liqueur served with a chocolate cookie and rock candy to soak within the drink. The tastes of these two liqueurs blended so nicely, it was delectable and a great way to leave the restaurant – satisfied.
A Touch of Venice is located at 28350 Main Road in Cutchogue. For reservations, call 631-298-5851 or visit www.touchofvenice.com. [/expand]