Monday, August 2, 2010

Vincenzo's Restaurant

Name: Vincenzo's Restaurant
Location: 1407 Watson Blvd., Endicott, NY 13760
Phone: (607) 484-0073
Cuisine: Italian/Subs/Sandwiches
Price: Around $5 or $6 per sandwich

As regular readers know, I've been looking far and wide for a great sandwich shop in the Triple Cities. The search has uncovered some real gems like the Original Italian Pizzeria in Endicott and Nezuntoz on the South Side, but I knew there had to be someplace even better out there, or at least more along the lines of what I wanted. Today, the search has ended. Vincenzo's on Watson Blvd. in Endicott is exactly the place I have been seeking.

I have driven by Vincenzo's on a number of occasions, on the way to Consol's or Oaks Inn (it is about three or four blocks east of those restaurants). I never gave it much thought because quite honestly I thought it was closed. I never saw any cars in the (tiny) parking lot nor did I notice any action going on inside. Today, I was looking for a place for lunch on Urbanspoon (great website, by the way) and stumbled across a few positive comments on Vincenzo's. Intrigued, I found their menu online which looked good to me, showed it to Megan who also found it agreeable, and five minutes later we were in the car, en route to Endicott.

Vincenzo's has an all-white exterior and a small parking lot directly behind the restaurant (drive past the restaurant on Watson and make your immediate right if coming from points east). On the inside, I was stunned by how clean and how charming it was. There are about 8 evenly spaced tables, each with their own floral arrangement, and some artwork gracing the walls. They also had some Italian music playing in the background when we were there which helped to set an appropriate atmosphere. For a small sandwich shop I found Vincenzo's to have near-perfect ambiance. It's pleasant and low-key and has the vibe of a place that's been there awhile, even though Vincenzo's has only been around since 2003.

The menu consists of various paninis, wraps, salads, and subs, with an emphasis on Italian items. I decided to order the Milano Press ($5.25), a panini consisting of mortadella, capicola, salami, and ham with a roasted red pepper mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions, all covered with a balsamic vinaigrette. Megan ordered the decidedly-less-Italian Turkey Wrap ($4.95) which was pretty much exactly what you'd expect, turkey, lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayo on a wrap. Each sandwich was served with a side of complimentary cole slaw.

My sandwich was phenomenal. For starters, I thought it looked great, and the taste certainly did not disappoint either. The red pepper mayo was a perfect compliment to the Italian meats, and they certainly don't skimp on the portions. This thing was stuffed to the gills with meat and toppings and everything tasted extremely fresh. But the very best part of the whole thing was the bread. This was the freshest, softest, best-tasting sandwich bread I've probably ever had. I'm not sure if they bake their own bread there on the premises or not, but I'm thinking they do. Since it was a panini, the sandwich was lightly pressed but not overdone like the panini I had a few weeks back at Escape State Street. There is absolutely nothing I would change even in the slightest about this sandwich: it is hands down the best I have had in the Triple Cities.

Megan enjoyed her Turkey Wrap, finding the turkey and veggies fresh and the wrap itself to be well-constructed. She was happy with it but not quite as enthusiastic as I was, preferring the deli sandwiches at the Full Belly Deli in Vestal. Maybe I need to give that place another shot, because I found it to be fairly basic and very average. At any rate, I sampled a few bites of the wrap and it was good, but certainly paled in comparison to my sandwich. Then again, what wouldn't?

I regret not giving Vincenzo's some business sooner. The ambiance as about as good as it could be given the location, service was quick and pleasant, and my panini is exactly what I had hoped for. Upon arriving, I wasn't expecting greatness, but Vincenzo's is truly excellent. It is one of the Triple Cities' hidden gems and immediately has become my favorite sandwich spot in the area. I'll be back again very soon.

Grade: A

Vincenzo's Sandwich Shop on Urbanspoon

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