When a great chef exits a restaurant, he always leaves questions in his wake: Will kitchen standards slip? Will the menu get dumbed down?
We hadn’t visited Vero in Amityville since founding chef Massimo Fedozzi left in February. (He’s now the executive chef at Graceful Rose in Port Jefferson). Fedozzi’s sous chef, Joseph Rosselli, has taken the reins and is doing a fine job.
The format of Vero’s menu, originally small plates, is now more traditional, with cheese, cured meats, salads and appetizers all available as starters ($8 to $18), followed by pastas (around $20) and mains (around $30).
We started with a chef’s selection of cured meats, a wooden tray heaped with mortadella, salami and coppa (cured shoulder) and accompanied by homemade cantaloupe jam, homemade giardiniera (pickled vegetables) and grapes — everything of very high quality. The grilled Caesar salad (with slim, lightly charred heads of romaine) is still delicious, as was a salad of watermelon, feta, cucumbers and red onion.
We eschewed traditional mains for pastas, which had been Fedozzi’s specialty. If Rossellis' lacked a maestro’s touch, they were nevertheless ambitious, gutsy and tasty. Tortelli di zucca, big tortellini stuffed with squash, were a tad on the thick side, their butter garnish not browned enough. Tagliatelle had been lovingly handmade but, again, the noodles were too thick to achieve that distinctive silky drape. Their short-rib ragu was excellent, however, as was the braised pork that sauced the nicely firm cavatelli.
While we were eating our pastas, the restaurant’s manager informed us that Wednesday at Vero is "pasta night'' when, for $19.95, patrons can order unlimited tableside service of three different pastas, plus a salad.
Vero is at 192 Broadway, Amityville, 631-608-4340, verorestaurant.biz.