Showing posts with label Italian food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Italian food. Show all posts


Come for the Calamari, Stay for the Panna Cotta

The name of one of Astoria's newer Italian joints, Via Vai, is quite fitting. Meaning "coming and going" in Italian, the phrase perfectly describes the nature of most of us New Yorkers, but--as we well know--us busy people always have the time to sit down for a nice meal.

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My boyfriend and I were invited for dinner a few weeks ago before laughing out loud to Larry David in his Broadway debut in Fish in the Dark (highly recommend!). The space is great, and conveniently located near the Ditmars N/Q stop. I especially loved the white subway tile, the glamorous Faema espresso machine, and the Italian-designed Pavesi brick pizza oven which sits as the centerpiece of the restaurant.

We started with the fried calamari served with fried artichokes and citrus zest ($13). This was a large portion for an appetizer, and properly served with a half lemon in mesh wrap for drizzling. The fried artichokes were a nice touch since I love artichokes but hardly ever eat them.

Fried calamari

Next up were the polpette, or beef meatballs with tomato sauce ($10). Sometimes the simplest dishes are the best. The standout of this dish was the tomato sauce: tangy, not too sweet, and meshed well with the slightly rich classic ricotta-based meatball.


The special pasta for the night was beet gnocchi with parmesan fondue, porcini sauce, and toasted hazelnuts. This was a very interesting dish and the colors made it quite beautiful. A bit rich for my taste, but delicious nonetheless.

Beet gnocchi
For a secondi, we tried the maiale, a pork filet tenderloin with prosciutto and sage saltimbocca, white truffle mashed potatoes, and grilled asparagus ($22). The meat in this dish reminded me of breakfast a bit, likely because of the spices used. The asparagus were great (I was craving veggies!), but the mashed potatoes left something to be desired (I think someone forgot the cream or butter or something).

The standout of the meal was dessert, which we unfortunately had to rush through (so no espresso :( ) in order to make it to our show on time. We tried both the panna cotta with caramel sauce and the tiramisu (served in a martini glass!)--both $8. The panna cotta was super creamy and both desserts were as traditional as they come. I felt transported back to Rome. If anything, go to Via Vai just for the dessert!

Overall the meal was good and the ambiance pretty great. If I was to return, as mentioned, it might just be for the dessert and to try something made by that goddess of an espresso machine. The pizzas looked pretty incredible as well. Even though it's Astoria, you can never have too many Italian restaurants!

Via Vai on Urbanspoon

Note: We were comped a meal for two in exchange for this review, but all opinions are our own.


Welcoming a New Bocca Di Bacco

On Tuesday I was invited to the grand opening party of Bocca Di Bacco's fourth location in Chelsea, in the old Il Bastardo space (191 7th Avenue). The restaurant is wide open and full of light, and definitely ready to party.

From the elaborate black crystal chandeliers to the rich wood ceiling beams and the pink banquettes to the exposed brick, the main dining room displays soothing luxury with a flirty urban opulence. The space is big enough that the restaurant plans to host corporate events and weddings.

We sampled one of the party's signature drinks, The Butterfly, with fig vodka, Champagne and raspberries. It was a bit on the sweet side, but would be a great brunch drink. Speaking of brunch, Executive Chef Kristin Sollenne assured us that Bocca Di Bacco will be keeping the tradition of the raucous brunch previously promoted by Il Bastardo.

As for the rest of the menu, this location will feature about 300 wines, including wines not usually available by the glass since the bar will be equipped with a high-tech Enomatic wine dispenser that keeps bottles fresh after being opened.

All of the food coming out of the kitchen smelled great, but some of the party guests were acting a little vulture-ish and so we didn't get to taste much. However, what we did taste--the mushroom and crab cake sticks, the mushroom and truffle flatbread and the risotto balls--were delicious.

The restaurant is officially open as of yesterday so check it out (I'm definitely curious about the brunch!) and let us know what you think.

Il Bastardo on Urbanspoon


Tiramisu! Get Your Tiramisu!

It's not secret that I love the NYC food scene, but when I get to partake in it for no charge  is when I get excited. Savoia Restaurant in Caroll Gardens, is new to me but certainly not new to serving up classic Italian Cuisine in the big apple. After moving to Brooklyn from Chambers Street after 9/11, Savoia is family run and emphasizes the Italian experience, offering rustic decor and even waiters with true Italian accents. Most of their ingredients are imported direct from Italy, with perishable items locally sourced from organic farms and other food purveyors. Yelp reviewers rave about the brick oven pizzas, the paninis and even their brunch specials.

If you're in the neighborhood today, Savoia is celebrating their 10th anniversary by giving away a free glass of wine and piece of tiramisu with your dinner order. Also, they will be having a demonstration of how to make their Rigatoni alla Norma today at 5, complete with a tasting of course.

Check back soon for my review of Savoia and if you go today come back and comment how much you loved the tiramisu!


Supper Time

Before the Hollywood festivities of last night, I had the pleasure of visiting a gem of an East Village restaurant. Through, Twitter, I have been privy to (and the winner of) many a contest. I recently started following @suppernyc, the twitter account of Supper Restaurant on 2nd Street and Ave. A. It turns out, every weekday at 2 p.m., the restaurant, and their sister establishments @lilfrankies at noon and @frankrestaurant at 1 p.m. do a twitter food giveaway. The first follower to retweet the posted message wins the entree of the day.

Just my luck (which is good if you were curious), I won the Grilled Polenta entree. The catch is that you have to either have it delivered or pick it up that day during a specific time period. Since the delivery area is limited to the E. Village, I figured I would swing by on the way to the premiere.

Even with my two years in the city, I'm ashamed to say I haven't truly explored the East Village, but I am working on it! Walking east on 2nd Street, I saw the cutest boutiques and some wonderful happy hour deals. What I found when I walked into Supper though, was perhaps the most fantastic. Several rustic outdoor tables greet you at first and then you walk inside to what reminds me of a log cabin with a bit of an edge - almost an rural chic feel, if such a thing exists (if it doesn't, I just created it).  After telling the hostess that I was there because of the Twitter contest, she presented me with a glass of house red while I waited for my entree. I took a seat at the large wooden bar, checked in on Foursquare (have to spread the online love!), and began to drool over the rest of the menu I looked over.

Supper offers a different risotto for every day of the week - could this be a more perfect place for me?! The most appealing, although I'm not sure if it is more of a dessert than an actual dinner, is Monday's Vanilla Bean and Mascarpone. I better clear my upcoming Monday schedules!

What seems like their signature dinner option is called the "Simple Supper." From Mondays through Wednesdays from 4-7 p.m. you can get an appetizer and an entree for $15.95. You can add on a glass of wine or beer to that for just another $4. Their weekend brunch menu also looked very appealing; the Molly's French Toast with fresh fruit raspberry butter, toasted pecans and real maple syrup was highly recommended.

In my haste to make it to the premiere, I know that I did not do my dish justice since I had to eat it on the subway. I didn't even get a chance to take a picture. However, I will take my sweet time describing it here. The polenta was among the lightest and most flavorful I've ever had, topped with fennel shavings and pieces of fresh Parmigiano cheese. It was accompanied by mouth watering Prosciutto di Parma and a small container of aged Balsalmic vinegar and olive oil. The crunchy-on-the-outside-but-soft-on-the-inside Italian bread that came with the meal was perfect for sopping up the extra oil and vinegar. With each bite, the subway car practically melted away and I felt like I was sitting outdoors at a table next to an Italian farmhouse, just watching the cows in the meadow and the sun setting over the hills. Needless to say, I didn't want the dish to end!

So what are you waiting for? Follow these restaurants on Twitter today and tomorrow you could have a wonderful supper waiting for you! Keep in mind you can only win these giveaways once every 30 days, but you can bet that I'll be first in line in a month.

Supper on Urbanspoon