Vincent's Restaurant- Vero Beach/Miracle Mile- 4.5 Stars
"The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you're hungry again." -- George Miller
As my sojourn into the world of food critics continues, I am starting to think that the number one ethnic sit down joint this side of the Mississippi is Italian as yet another "Italian" place was next on my review agenda. With an open kitchen, ample lighting and more than enough space between the spartan wooden dining sets, Vincent's comes off as charming, cozy and relaxing. After taking a table and scanning the all too familiar menu...wait a minute. What is this? Braciola? Now that is something you don't see on the menu in most Italian joints. Braciola is a roulade and as such is in the category of "rolled food." Traditionally the meat is thinly sliced pieces of pork, chicken, beef or swordfish (if near a coastal region). The meat is generally stuffed with cheese, sometimes vegetables, breadcrumbs, and fresh herbs rolled into a log shape, tied with cooking string, or secured with toothpicks, and then fried. Braciola is extremely versatile and can be served as a main course, side dish or as a sandwich when stuffed between two slices of thick Italian bread.
When my delightfully sweet server, Sandy, came up and asked if I was ready, I responded with, "Yes. Yes, I am" and proceeded to order said Braciola along with an order of the soup de jour, which in this case was their take on Split Pea. It wasn't before too long when I spied Smashing Sandy returning with my meal. The aromas that preceded her commenced igniting my appetite making me impatient to begin on the feast she brought forth from the depths of Giuseppe's kitchen.
The Split Pea soup was indescribably delicious as it was an Italian take on the American staple that will have me coming back for more. It had fresh chopped parsley sprinkled over real, honest to handcrafted croutons buoyantly bouncing on top of some of the thickest, tastiest Split Pea soup I have ever had. This was truly a marvel that would have Pea Soup Andersen of California fame spinning in his grave. As if the soup wasn't enough to convince me that this place was in a different league than its relatives strewn about the Tri-County area, we come to the Braciola.
Chef Giuseppe used thinly sliced beef stuffed with pine nuts, raisins, garlic, Parmigiano, parsley and bread crumbs all rolled nice and tight, braised in a tomato sauce and served alongside some penne pasta. My first thought on turning my sockets towards this culinary masterpiece was, "Holy smokes. That is gorgeous." As my fork penetrated the delectably tender beef and brought my first tasting to my palate, I knew this was a dish unlike any other. It was delicate and complex with pine nut overtones that truly made it one of a kind. The homemade tomato sauce was seasoned to perfection and did not overpower the splendid savoriness of the beef. The accompanying penne pasta was boiled to a perfect al dentè and while nothing by itself to write home about, anything covered in that freshly made tomato sauce is and so here we are.
The Big Boy says, "For a hard to find Italian delicacy that looks as good as it tastes, stop in at Vincent's and order the Braciola. Buon Appetitio!" #iamthebigboy #bigboydiningout