By Ava Stryker-Robbins
Few restaurants on the Upper West Side have lasted as long as V&T; this neighborhood institution first opened on 122nd Street in 1945 and has remained in its current location on Amsterdam between 110th Street and 111th Street for over 70 years since 1951.
Originally started by two brothers who were World War II veterans—Vincent and Tony Curcurato—V&T is an Italian restaurant serving pizza, pasta, and more. According to V&T’s website, prior to the war Vincent and Tony worked at an Italian bakery in East Harlem where they learned how to create thin-crust pizza.
Though the restaurant changed ownership from the Curcurato brothers to Alex Gjolaj and then to his son Anthony Gjolaj, the menu has remained largely the same. According to a WSR phone interview with Gjolaj who currently serves as day-time manager, the chicken piccata is a long-lasting dish and is one of the restaurant’s most popular items.
The tender chicken pieces are sautéed to perfection, but its sauce is what truly elevates the dish and makes the chicken shine. It is tangy and buttery with hints of white wine, and is speckled with capers, which give it a slightly bright and sour flavor. The dish is creamy and inviting, and the chicken is delicious. It comes with a bowl of pasta or salad on the side.
Gjolaj mentions that part of what makes the dish special is the chef, who has been making this recipe—which is a family recipe—for about 25 years.
The environment of V&T is very special—the checkered tables and upbeat ambiance take customers back in time. The restaurant is notoriously kid-friendly and is, according to V&T’s website, “a haven for Columbia students and Morningside Heights Residents.” Gjolaj mentions that more than half of V&T’s business comes from Columbia students, “V&T and Columbia go hand in hand,” he says.
Gjolaj also states that there is nothing comparable to being a small business owner. Both frequent customers, tourists, and new customers shape the environment of the restaurant and make it a different experience every day.
Gjolaj states that V&T is hoping to remain mostly unchanged in the future. “You want to keep the core set back in time,” he says.
The chicken piccata costs $22.
The Dish: Chicken Piccata
The Restaurant: V&T (1024 Amsterdam Avenue between 110th and 111th Streets)
Read all our Here’s the Dish columns here.
Cozy, comfortable venue and an affable collection of seasoned staff. Thanks for showing them some love!
Yay V&T! I first went their in 1969, and I still go there.
The best chicken piccata in NY. We have tried the dish in all sorts of Italian restaurants in NYC and none can compare.
V&T has been my “ur-pizza” taste since I first went there in 1977. In the early 80’s I was having dinner there with a friend, and at an adjoining table were Art Garfunkel (who was a Columbia graduate, and also must have left college with fondness for the restaurant’s cuisine) and his then-girlfriend, Penny Marshall. I did not check to see if they had ordered the chicken piccata.
I have very fond memories of the V&T from my student days at Barnard College. My roommates and I, and also friends from Columbia would often go there. Al.ways wonderful and I am so glad they are stilt here.
V & T is the only restaurant I consistently order delivery from. The food is always the best.