By Sophia Ricco
Get a taste for the finer things in life at BiVio Ristorante, an Italian eatery that boasts sensational, ever-changing specials and a welcoming wait staff.
The restaurant, opened seven years this November, serves a variety of Italian-fused dishes from duck to fish to veal. Some of the staff have been there since the beginning and work to uphold a reputation for “attention to detail” service.
“We’re a very comfortable, relaxed, family-style restaurant,” floor manager, Tom Stevens said. “We welcome all guests.”
Stop by on a weekend night and BiVio is a lively joint with drinks pouring and live music in the lounge, that can be heard throughout the restaurant. BiVio likes to support local talent by booking local musicians on Friday and Saturday night. They also host an “Oldies” dinner and show every other month, complete with performances and dancing from past eras.
Or just pop by for a drink during their Happy Hour, Tuesday through Friday, 4-6:30 p.m. at the bar. Specials feature House wines, cocktails and cosmos for $6 and an assortment of bar bites for $7.95. BiVio is known for serving white wines, martinis and tap beer in a frosted glass to keep it chilled. The martini list has signature cocktails from The Appletini to a Chocolate Martini. With specials like these, it’s easy to see why BiVio is the spot many groups choose for their celebrations and events.
“It’s a meeting place type of atmosphere, we’re accustomed to hosting a lot of groups,” Stevens said.
Start off your meal with a selection of fresh Italian bread and raisin bread. Both were scrumptious and perfect for dipping in sauce or just olive oil.
A tasty appetizer for seafood lovers is the jumbo shrimp cocktail ($16.95). Accompanied by special cocktail sauce, that is made in house, the shrimp was delectable. BiVio’s cuisine takes inspiration from Italian elements but ranges in flavors. Stevens describes the food as comfort and “home-y.”
“It’s a complete menu that we offer, it’s universal,” Stevens said. “We also offer specials that change every day.”
A few specials to check out when dining are the rib-eye steak with mashed potatoes and broccoli or the fusilli with sausage and broccoli rabe. Every day the chef makes fresh pasta by hand like fettuccine, pappardelle, lobster ravioli and fusilli. This freshness made all the difference with the sausage and broccoli rabe that came together in harmony, united by a light sauce with hints of garlic.
Another special that switches with the seasons is the roasted duck. We were treated to this prime meat covered in raspberry glaze and sauteed apple slices with a side of wild rice. Served on the bone, the tender meat easily falls off. The apples give it a fruity, fresh taste that is balanced by the raspberries’ bittersweet tartness. Depending on the time, the chef will pair the duck a l’orange for a more citrus flavor.
As you feast, an attentive wait staff, is constantly circling throughout the restaurant and helping one another out to make sure every table is satisfied.
“It’s a hands-on staff, we only hire people with knowledge of the business,” Stevens said. “They have to be well-versed in specials, since we do them as an oral presentation and they have to know the menu well.”
BiVio’s famous dish, pappardelle bolognese ($18.95) did not disappoint. The fresh wide fettuccine covered in their homemade meat sauce was bursting with flavor. The sauce was a perfect consistency, with a generous portion of ground beef. BiVio wants to make their customers happy and are willing to substitute or change menu items to their liking.
“Everything is made to order so it’s fresh and we can alter anything,” Stevens said. “I had a regular come in who wanted the pappardelle bolognese but wanted to substitute it for gnocchi. We mix and match.”
Finish off with an Italian sweet treat, like tartufo or cheesecake, that bring sweet to a new level.
1801 E Jericho Turnpike
Atmosphere: Rustic and cozy
Price: Appetizers: $11.95-16.95, Pasta: $18.95-26.95, Fish: $24.95-28.95, Meat: $23.95-42.95
Hours: Monday, closed; Tuesday-Thursday, noon - 10 p.m.; Friday, noon - 11 p.m.; Saturday, 3-11 p.m.; Sunday, 3-9 p.m.