This fall something seemed missing to me from the restaurant scene. The new restaurant that makes you fall in love upon first step inside has been lost. With the popularity of celebrity chefs, instagrammable dishes, and blogger hypes, the emotions tied to the place and way the food makes you feel has been ignored a little or overlooked. I didn’t hear or see too much about Via Carota after it opened which in fact was a blessing because I decided to check it out last minute and like Bob Marley said, “Is This Love That I’m Feeling?” instantly took over me. There is no real “waiting area” so when you walk in there is a huge glass window that allows you to see right in on all of the tables upon entrance, and then the bar hits you directly on the left. It reminds me a bit of one of the partners other restaurant’s Buvette. It’s cozy, European-like, open, and dimmed lighting.
What I like best about this restaurant is that everything on the menu looks appealing and to die for. You don’t come here just for one pasta dish because the chefs do their job right and every dish is what you come here for! I like that they start out with crostinis, move down to vegetable appetizers, then pasta, then the proteins. The variety on the menu signals that you’ll have to come back a second time because you won’t be able to order the whole menu even though it felt like we did. This no-frills spot allows you to enjoy your meal, your company, and your service without looking all around you to see who else is there or who is walking in. The tables that line the windows facing Grove Street also make you feel like you the star in your very own New York movie and it’s as if you are watching yourself. This beautiful block really makes you feel like you are in a classic restaurant here.
Truffle Pasta + Pappardelle
The menu is shareable, because what isn’t these days? The carrots are smooth, tender and resting atop garlic, lemon, and yogurt. They aren’t the best I’ve ever had, but I would order them again and be happy. Now that Stracchino crostini with sun-dried cherry tomatoes may look like something you’ve had before, but I guarantee you haven’t unless you were traveling abroad. This cheese must be imported from Italy, and if it’s not these ladies sure fooled me. It’s rich, creamy, sticky, and one of the most memorable snacks here. It starts you off on the right foot. I love how cute the pastas look in their little bowls and plates. It doesn’t look like a huge portion but it’s definiltey enough for four to share two. While any type of ragu is usually my favorite, the soft pasta with truffle is light and silky. It beat out the pappardelle with boar ragu which is pretty rich.
The sea bream wit escarole is a must order. This fish isn’t always an option, but when it is I go for it. It’s buttery, flaky, and if I had to pick, I might pick this as a dish I could spend the rest of my life eating and not be mad at it. The Chopped Steak aka Svizzerina is another dish I’ve never seen before. It is delivered on a white plate with a circular patty delicately placed in the middle with some thyme sprigs decorated around it. Cut right into this beef patty and there you see the chopped up steak all packed in together. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something this raw looking and it been ok, but do not fear. Instead dive right in and inhale those juicy flavors. The thyme is perfect on it.
Via Carota Svizzerina
As if vegetables, crostini’s, pastas, fish, and steak aren’t enough, they then slap you with the verbal dessert menu. While I thought the flourless chocolate cake would seal the deal for me, weirdly the fresh berries with cream wooed me. It’s probably a better way to treat your stomach after all of that. Via Carota resembles everything you want in a restaurant: love, nothing overly hyped, a European feel with home cooking instilled in the presentation of each dish and taste, and a cute block to dance in after your successful meal.