After an interminable rainy and cold Friday, I found myself at Vero Wine Bar in midtown, waiting for AS to join me. It was early-- about 5:30-- and while it wasn't nearly full, there was about a 15 minute wait for a table while they cleared something off in back. Finally, though, I was seated, AS joined me, and we got to work.
Some wine to start, of course: sauvignon blanc for me, pinot grigio for AS. The pours were generous and the glassware was decent, both pluses. My only gripe is that all the glasses were just a dollar or two more than they should be; without any options under $10, it felt just a wee bit expensive.
And the same goes for the food. I ordered the "Roasted Vegetable Tower with Jasmine Rice," sans rice (not a huge rice fan), for $14. And this, no joke, is what I got:
In terms of size, check out the votive candle in the background-- the entire (did I mention $14?) dish amounted to about a cup of diced vegetables. Granted, it was tasty, just a simple lightly stir-fried mixture, but to say "I felt ripped off" would be a GROSS understatement.
AS ordered the lobster sliders, which she enjoyed. The accompanying fries bore a spice mixture, which made them a departure from the ordinary salt-and-pepper standbys.
The high point of the night was when two tiny espresso cups landed on our table, gratis: a light, sweet, eggy custard, gone in two bites. It was a delicious touch.
And as an aside, a visit to the bathroom revealed one of the smallest bathrooms stalls I've ever encountered-- with the toilet about three inches (max) from the facing wall, it was, shall we say, difficult to navigate.
As we lingered and chatted over wine, Vero morphed slowly from Midtown East Wine Bar into Bumpin' Nightlife Hot Spot. After-workers packed the bar; gaggles of girls packed the tables. The lights were lowered several times until it was nearly impossible to see. The hostess's getup, an insanely revealing bustier/corset type deal, which had looked ridiculous in broad daylight at 5:30, now made a little more sense (all female employees were dressed much more like cocktail waitresses than wine bar employees, it must be noted). All in all, it was a little disconcerting; I tend to visit wine bars because they're laid-back, chill, convivial places to enjoy a delicious glass of wine and a bite to eat. But Vero is cooler than that, and potentially cooler than you, with prices to match. I'm not sure I'd return; with so many wine bars of the former pedigree in the city, I don't think there's room in my rotation for the latter.
1004 Second Avenue, at 53rd Street