Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 4:30AM
This week's review is of A Voce Restaurant, on 41 Madison Avenue (they also have another location as well, at 10 Columbus Circle). Elana and I are greeted and seated immediately, despite arriving about 20 minutes early for our reservation. They are extremely welcoming.
The Scene - The interior has a modern, trendy sharpness to it. Abstract artistry, colored lights and contoured leather seating gives off a very Vegas like feel. It's a spacious, sprawling, single level space featuring angled furniture, walls and fixtures which perfectly mesh together like well working geometry experiment.
The Grub - A Voce starts us off with some fresh, Tuscan (no, or little, salt) style bread with a dipping dish of EVOO (that's extra virgin olive oil). Elana and I use this opportunity to scan the wide ranging menu. We first split an order of the Cassoncini con Prosciutto Di Parma. The Cossoncini is a fried dumpling stuffed with piping hot mozzarella cheese and, and this case, spinach. The fry is nice and light and doesn't distract from a wonderful, cream spinach like inside. The accompanying cuts of Prosciutto are of high quality. They are perfectly moist but not too fatty or salty.
We follow this up with two pasta dishes: (1) Agnolotti - sunchoke filled pasta with brown butter, walnuts and rosemary and (2) Quadratti - gorgonzola filled pasta with savoy cabbage and truffles. Both pastas (which are of the ravioli/tortellini genre) are of excellent construction (look at the 4 sides of the "quad" ratti. Brilliant!). They are sturdy enough not to leak filling, yet rolled thin so to provide each bite with loads of flavor. The former pasta is my top choice between the two. It's a perfect feature of sweet and salt. The gorgonzola pasta is darn good, but there is an ever-so-slight let down: it had been covered in truffle shavings which, sadly, provided minimal (almost non existent, actually) truffle flavor. Nonetheless, I'm able to quickly overlook this otherwise grave mistake due the excellent quality of pasta that sits in a lemony, buttery sauce which, according to Elana is more like "cabbagey, cheetoh madness." I'm sure this is exactly what they had in mind.
For our main dish, Elana and I split braised veal shank Ossobuco with bone marrow and leeks. This dish is superb. With a gentle pull, the veal effortlessly falls off the bone and rests in a pool of burgundy, lightly salted broth. The meat is both fatty and tender, with taste levels that are simply through the roof. But the real treat, is found inside the bone, which is jam packed with the buttery, fatty, boogery goodness that is bone marrow. Upon Elana making this discovery, we both shove the butt-ends of our forks to force out this glorious goop, and spread the remains on the meat. L-I-V-I-N.
For a side, we also order Cauliflower, which has been toasted in oil, a light vinegar, and sprinkled with sea salt. It is perfectly crunchy and lightly burnt. As is custom, Elana and I top of off our meal with some of the best Espresso in recent memory - just an absolute kick ass ying yang of bitter and smooth. It is served with a complimentary, lemony marshmallow treat (as seen below).
Throughout the meal, A Voce's service is quite good. While it's not the absolute soup to nuts flawless presentation of, say, Del Posto, A Voce has the requisite features of a top flight restaurant: a knowledgeable staff, a sommelier on site (who was quite helpful), and well timed meal arrivals (minus one or two lulls in refilling our wine).
The bathrooms are a scene of tidy luxury - marbled sinks, upper quality disposable hand towels, and a generous reflective surface to re-set the part in your dome should it become disturbed while digging up tough to reach portions of bone marrow. It gives you pretty much everything you need.
Heat - The Near Edgy Masterpiece