Here's a late-breaking entry to 2014's crop of small-plates restaurants: Viaggio Tapas is open for dinner in Rockville Centre.
The restaurant is a collaboration between Ronny Jaramillo, a former general manager at Besito, and RoseAnn Vercillo. They have transformed the space that used to house The Manhattan Bar & Lounge. Now it's all rustic wood, subway tiles and copper pots — plus hooks at every bar stool for womens' handbags.
The chef is Alex Bujoreanu, who knows a thing or two about tapas, having grown up in Barcelona, cooked there and at well-known Spanish restaurants in Manhattan, including Barca, Plan B and Soccarat.
Viaggio’s menu comprises about two dozen tapas, ranging from shishito peppers with black Maldon salt, wild mushroom croquettes with truffle aioli and razor clams with garlic and parsley to grilled octopus and grilled lamb chops. Prices range from $7 to $16.
There are also oysters, salads, soups, “boards” (of cheese or cured fish or meat) and large plates to share: grilled vegetables, meat or seafood ($48 to $56) or vegetable, meat or seafood paella ($36 to $42). Jaramillo noted that this is authentic Valencian paella, made to order with imported bomba rice in a shallow paella pan and evincing the distinctive crust, the “soccarat,” that is the mark of a true paella.
Viaggio’s wine list is mostly Spanish and Italian, with almost everything available by the glass. You can also order a “porron” ($15), a bulbous glass carafe with a pouring spout that promotes sharing because it allows imbibers to pour wine directly into their mouths without touching their lips to the glass.
Viaggio Tapas is at 324 Sunrise Hwy., Rockville Centre, 516-208-7789, viaggiotapas.com.