Grissini Restaurant has taken over the familiar colonial-style building at 355 Smith Ridge Road in Vista formerly occupied by Nino’s. New owner Leo Rukiq acquired the business several weeks ago from the previous owners and has been working hard on redecorating the interior and preparing an all-new Italian menu, which had its debut on July 16.
“My goal is to operate a restaurant with outstanding cuisine, excellent service and moderate prices,” he said as he sat down recently with The Ledger at Grissini. “This is my second restaurant and I am looking forward to making it the same success as my Grappa, in the town of Warwick in Orange County.” Mr. Rukiq, who is of Albanian heritage, said Italian cuisine comes naturally to him and his countrymen. “Albania was occupied by Italy during the war and the Italians had a permanent influence on the cuisine of my country,” he said. “The two cuisines are very similar.”
Grissini now offers a host of new dishes, all prepared under the guidance of master chef Benito Albanesi, a graduate of the famed Artista de la Cuccina Di Firenzia in Italy.
Mr. Albanesi has been a chef for 30 years and has worked at some of Manhattan’s finest Italian restaurants, including Toscana, Acappella and Quattro Gatti.
“We are offering lots of fish and all of our pastas and desserts are homemade,” Mr. Rukiq said. “We will have 10 different specials each evening. Our bread comes up daily from Arthur Avenue and we have a large list of premium wines as well as a full bar and wines by the glass.”
A look at the new menu shows a variety of chicken, seafood, and meat entrees.
Chicken entrees include marsala, francese, parmigiano and scarpariello. Seafood offerings feature Dover sole, salmon, shrimp, Italian sea bass and Italian striped bass.
Meat lovers can enjoy several versions of veal, including saltimbocca, sorrentina, marsala, francese, piccata, paillard and parmigiano. Grilled steaks chops and filet mignon also grace the menu.
All entrees are served with a vegetable of the day and potatoes.
For pasta lovers, chef Albanesi will prepare cappellini frutta di mare; linguini mediterrana; penne alla vodka, linguini alla vongole; fettuccini alla salmone; and tortellini gratinara, among others.
Customers can start their meal with a variety of soups, salads and appetizers, and finish with one of the homemade desserts and a cup of espresso.
Brick oven pizzas are also available.
Grissini is open seven days a week, with lunch from 12 to 4, and dinner starting at 5. All major credit cards are accepted.
Mr. Rukiq has redecorated the dining room, using French doors to create a separate party room that can accommodate up to 80 people for special events.
“My vision is to operate a fine Italian restaurant that features the best cuisine at a moderate price,” Mr. Rukiq said. “We have been approved to reopen the outside dining terrace later this summer. I have moved with my wife and three children to Vista and will be devoting all of my efforts to making Grissini Restaurant a success.” Information: 914-533-2671.