Monday, September 27, 2010

A successful return to A Voce

The other day, I was looking for a delicious and relaxing dinner and glass of wine. The UWS/Columbus Circle was my target area, and after wandering for a bit, I found myself wandering into A Voce. Yes, I'd been there before, with mixed results, but I was kind of craving their fresh ricotta, so I was happy to be there.

The service, as always, was incredibly friendly and solicitous, making me feel relaxed and welcome. I started with a glass of wine: Chateau Martet Semillon. This was crisp and round and comforting, with some appealing notes of grass and grapefruit like a sauvignon blanc. Delicious.

It glows!

As I sipped my wine, they brought over their incredible focaccia and the coveted ricotta. There were two warm pieces of focaccia doused in olive oil, which seeped into the crust and perfumed the soft, tender bread. But forget about the bread: it's all about the cheese here. Creamy, mild, inflected with the herbs and pepper and olive oil and just absolutely addictive. Since I was alone, I ate it straight out of the little dish. It was heavenly.

A whole dish for me!

But the best was yet to come. I ordered their Insalata Estiva, which promised grilled stonefruits, arugula, caprino, and pine nuts. This was one of the best salads I've ever had. One forkful of greens revealed a vinaigrette that punched the tongue with its flavor; under the greens was a layer of grilled nectarines (I think...), which were anchored to the plate with a smear of pungent goat cheese. A sliver of red onion here and a pine nut there provided pops of flavor. The whole thing was incredibly tasty-- almost preternaturally tasty for a salad-- and it was insanely, ridiculously enjoyable.

A beautiful, filling, superlative salad

I was stuffed at that point, so I paid the bill and left, taking a cursory nibble of their traditional complimentary sugar-covered fried dough slats on the way out. I left feeling full and relaxed and happier than I had been when I'd gone in. And isn't that the measure of a truly good restaurant?

A Voce Columbus
10 Columbus Circle, Third Floor

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