Taste of Croatia in Astoria at Veslo

Lauren Glassberg has this week's Neighborhood Eats
November 8, 2013 3:40:44 PM PST
In this week's Neighborhood Eats, we feature Croatian cuisine that you'll find being served in Queens.

And if you described Croatian food, it may remind you of Italian with a little Hungarian, but it is its own cuisine.

It makes up the menu at Veslo, located 32-11 Broadway in the heart of Astoria.

"Astoria's a melting pot of different cultures and I wanted to bring a touch of Croatia to it and have the neighborhood experience our Croatian culture and Croatian food," said Veslo's Mirela Rosini.

She is doing that at Veslo, a 3-year old restaurant that's a draw for its seafood in particular.

"Veslo means oar and Croatians are fishermen, they love to fish, they've been fishing for hundreds of years," said Rosini.

And Boris Nanjara is at the helm of this ship.

"Most of the people catch thier own fish, and it's just from the sea to the pot, and it's cooked in all different ways," said Nanjara.

And one of those dishes is the Brudetto A La Adriatico. Away from the heat, Boris loads a pan with tomatoes, onions, garlic, parsley and white wine.

Then lots of fresh seafood that's topped with a tomato sauce and fish stock, covered and steamed.

Boris serves it over pasta, or you can opt for polenta. Either way, it's a staple on the Dalmatian coast.

So for Croatians, this is a taste of home.

"It's authentic, like an authentic Croatian restaurant," said a customer. ('So it takes you back to home?') "Yes, of course."

And even for folks who aren't Croatian, they find plenty of reasons to dine at Veslo.

"You're getting quality food, and chef Boris is an excellent chef, so he knows what he's doing," said one customer. ('How often are you guys here?') "A couple of times a week."

"When I see dishes, and they come empty and people finish everything, that's very enjoyable and I'm so proud to see that," said Nanjara.

Brudetto a la Adriatico
- 3 raw shrimp
- 2 raw mussels
- 2 raw scallops
- 4 raw clams
- 2 small pieces of raw seabass*
- 1 ½ oz white wine
- 1 tsp garlic
- 1 tsp parsley
- 2 TBLS chopped onion
- 1 small chopped tomato
- 3 TBLS tomato sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients in a cool saucepan, cover with a lid or another sauce pan of equal size and heat over medium heat until the shells have opened.

Serve over linguini or polenta, whatever your preference.
This serves 1-2 people.
*you can substitute with any fish or seafood you prefer