This restaurant is closed!
74 Seventh Avenue South
City: New York, NY
Hours: Mon - Sun 5pm to 12am
Site: Visit the restaurant site
Chef: Anne Burrell
Area: West Village
Entree Price: $20-25
Tapas, stuzzichini, piccolini. Will New Yorkers’ appetites for little bites of food never end? Certainly not, judging by the recent opening of Centro Vinoteca, an uber-stylish West Village eatery I stumbled on by accident this month. In this gorgeously decorated space, diners are encouraged to sample one of the house’s specialty cocktails or many, many wines (hence, the Vinoteca) with chef Anne Burrell’s enticing selection of piccolini before heading onto more filling fare.
Indeed, we considered making an entire meal out of these gently priced mini-appetizers ($5-7), tempted by the sound of polpettini, arancine, and a slew of other Italian delicacies. But in the end, my friend Leslie and I sampled just two of the delectable options – a sextet of hearty mushrooms stuffed with pork and pancetta, and a quartet of remarkably delicate rock shrimp floating in garlic butter – along with our generous glasses of delicious, properly cold prosecco.
The house’s secondi all sounded great, from a rosemary-and-pancetta crusted chicken to ribeye tagliata, but we were seeking somewhat lighter fare that evening. So we happily settled for a highly satisfying appetizer consisting of four nicely grilled sea scallops accented by watermelon rind and dandelion greens and a superb version of bucatini alla amatriciana, the perfectly al dente pasta gloriously coated with a rich tomato sauce studded with onion and pancetta (clearly, one of Burrell’s favorite ingredients).
And we even considered skipping dessert, until we realized that Burrell’s finales are as innovative, if not more so, than the rest of her menu, including a buttermilk peach panna cotta, goat cheese cheesecake, and a refreshing-sounding raspberry-canteloupe “float.” But our charming waiter sold us on the virtues of the seemingly mundane cookie plate, and he didn’t steer us wrong. Out came a dozen homemade sweet nibbles, including divine pistachio shortbread, excellent biscotti, superb chocolate sugar cookies and raspberry thumbs – only the brownie-like cookies failed to truly impress. They were an unexpectedly fine end to an unexpectedly fine dining experience.
Review By: Brian Scott Lipton