Via Carota

I am a big fan of both Buvette and I Sodi so I was excited to hear about the two owners ( who are also partners ) opening up a restaurant together in the same neighborhood called Via Carota.  Adding another solid Italian restaurant to the area should be a win.  That is it should be.  Fred went when the place just opened up and sat at the bar to have dinner.  I was out of town.  He was very lukewarm on his experience but did not want to cloud my judgement so we went back after a few weeks.  Keep in mind that Via Carota does not take reservations.  They don’t even take phone calls as the phone rings endlessly there without even a machine to pick up and say to the possible patron that they are opened these hours, walk in only, etc.  Their website has nothing but the logo.  We decided to get there on the earlier side with the hopes of scoring a seat.  We got two stools at the bar right before the mad rush.

The restaurant has huge windows over looking Grove Street that run the length of the restaurant.  The bar runs the length of the restaurant too.  A very Italian vibe.  The vibe in there might be better in the summer when the light comes streaming in and the windows are open.  I felt like the place had been poorly constructed or maybe it was just the accessories that they chose like coat hooks, bar top etc.

The menu is not that much different than their own restaurants.  Nothing new, exciting or unique.  I wonder who is actually cooking the food in the back.  Maybe it is the size of the place vs the small intimacy that works in the other restaurants but I am not a fan.  We started out with a few items off the Verdure section which is essentially small antipasto like plates.  We couldn’t decide so we spoke with the guy behind the bar.  Told him specifically that we do not like garlic.  This was the first and biggest disconnect.

salad viaWe started with a salad of thinly sliced cabbage, parm cheese and walnuts.  I thought it would be a nice start.  Crisp, light and sharp.  Instead it was boring and tasteless.

escaroleOur next two dishes was a warm radicchio with pine nuts and ricotta cheese.  Heavy dollops of cheese that did not spread throughout the dish so at times you just got this huge wallop of cheese in your mouth.

fennelRoasted fennel with supposedly a fennel confit and a few chopped tomatoes.  The nice thing is that the fennel is super soft but there is nothing that makes this dish tasty.

pastaFred went with a bowl of pasta for dinner.  Veal bolognese.  They could think about serving the pasta in a bowl that makes it look like a main course vs a side dish to start.  There was zero bite or richness to the sauce.  It was watery and tasteless.

chickenLast and certainly not least was the chicken.  I did tell the waiter I did not do garlic and actually asked about a few dishes before ordering.  I got the dish and could smell the garlic.  I should have sent it back or even asked why do they find it necessary to put fresh chopped garlic on top of the chicken but I didn’t.  I ate some of it not all because half of it was undercooked.  It was juicy and the presentation was good but that’s it.

We left disappointed.  Fred said I confirmed for him what he thought the first time although wanted to give it another shot since the restaurant had just opened.  I tossed and turned all night due to the garlic quantities.  This is a brand new place.  Packed because of the other two restaurants loyal clientele.  There is no doubt that Jodi Williams is not cooking in the kitchen.  All and all a huge bummer.  I had such high hopes.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Stuart Willson

    i sodi is such a gem of a restaurant

    1. Gotham Gal

      It is. Via c is not. Alas

  2. JLM

    .I love Buvette which was recommended by My Perfect Daughter, the New Yorker, and you. A very high plateau of praise indeed.There is nothing as intimate as the back room at Buvette and the steamed scrambled eggs and and and and.Disappointing to hear about the new place — won’t mention the name. Do not want to wander into bad juju. If you can keep the juju and the mojo and the lagniappe properly positioned in your life, the bad things can’t find you.As always, great pics. Thank you for running interference on the best restaurants in NYC.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  3. kirklove

    Bummer. We had a solid 10 there last time. None of your dishes though (they change menu a lot). Rita was cooking the night we were there, too. Hit all the right notes for me – space, vibe, menu, amount, service.Really stinks your experience was poor.

    1. Gotham Gal

      two strikes. not going back.

  4. pointsnfigures

    Do Italians ever cook without garlic? BTW, have you seen the movie “Chef”? Loved it for a lot of reasons.

    1. Gotham Gal

      No they don’t but there is a way to use garlic and a way not to use garlic. Chef was great. The scene when he goes home after being fired and cooks is awesome

      1. awaldstein

        obscure wonderful food film. right up there with big night.if you don’t know it you might really like this one.

        1. Gotham Gal

          loved mostly martha