Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Slice of Naples Right Here in Forest Hills at the Newly Opened Numero 28

By Rebecca Banchik

Our beloved neighborhood has been waiting for some exciting new foodie arrivals and this weekend Numero 28 {in the old The Grill space on Restaurant Row} opened and I dare say, should be called “Numero 1” because it was excellent.

Getting Italian food in New York City is easy … almost a little too easy. Everyone, whether they are Italian or not, has their take on Italian and Italian-American classics ranging from pizzas to chicken parmigiana, to pastas of every shape and sauce. Because Italian red sauce joints are so ubiquitous, standing out and being really good is a challenge. Numero 28 stepped up to this challenge. That they were coming to Forest Hills as an already established restaurant with locations throughout Manhattan and in Brooklyn {as well as in Miami, Austin, and London} had me tentatively optimistic. When it’s not your first rodeo, you know how to run a tight ship. But that can also mean sterile or uninspired. Not so at this new outpost; there was something authentic and honest about the food and ambience. The staff were also so very welcoming as if I was an old friend and we were there to break bread together for the first time in many years.

While pizza is very clearly the feature of their menu, definitely give their appetizers and pasta dishes a try. The Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe was one of the most delicious pastas I have had in a very long time. The sauce is deceptively simple, which makes it a tricky one to perfect. I’ve had cacio e pepe many times, and if it’s not done right, it risks tasting bland or dry. The chef here is from Rome, and I was told he makes this dish the Roman way … which, for the record, is apparently the most delicious way. I was enjoying it so much I spooned every last bit of sauce off the pan long after the spaghetti was gone. The sauce, made of pecorino cheese and reserved pasta water, spiced with flecks of black pepper and tossed to coat perfectly al dente spaghetti was everything I wanted it to be and more.

I tried their namesake pizza {buffalo mozzarella, speck, truffle cream, & mushrooms} and whoa. The truffle cream is the standout here – literally a cream of truffley goodness that melted all over the salty speck and chewy crust. The crust was ever slightly charred and the edges had a crisp but pliable bite. The thinness of the speck made it almost melt in your mouth. The pizzas come in three sizes; I recommend the individual size if you plan to sample other dishes.

For an appetizer, our gracious waiter Marco recommended the Sicilian Rice Balls which were atop a classic marinara sauce. The arancini were nicely crisp on the outside and stuffed with a scrumptious blend of cheese, ground beef, and rice. The tang from the tomato sauce complemented the salty and creamy center of these little pockets of yumminess.

Since I hadn’t eaten any carbs yet {cue the sarcasm}, it seemed only necessary to try one of their homemade desserts. I sampled a chocolate cake with a Nutella mascarpone cream. While I may have had to roll myself home, it was worth every bite and a perfect ending {along with a frothy cappuccino} to a wonderful meal.

Welcome to the block, new friends at Numero 28. I look forward to many more meals with you, next time with some vino. Saluti, and best of luck making Forest Hills your home.

Numero 28 is located at 107-12 70th Road in Forest Hills. Email:


  1. I always look forward to your restaurant reviews!

  2. Finally - a real adult place around Forest Hills that holds its own in Manhattan. Had the pizza there yesterday - excellent; looking forward to many more meals!

  3. Thank you! I love writing them!

  4. Sounds good! Does anyone have any photos of the interior?