If service is the secret to success, A Voce Columbus, the newest addition to Time Warner Center’s roster of fine dining restaurants, has my endorsement. Manager, Dominique Bell, a well seasoned professional with a great resume of restaurant management to her credit, is warm and welcoming, and the serving staff doesn’t miss a beat. With not one, but several enticing mouth watering menus to choose from, A VOCE COLUMBUS offers a wide variety of reasonably priced traditional and creative Italian dishes and courses to choose from. The décor and ambiance is casual but refined; minimalist and modern with handsome leather table tops.
It is Friday, and following lunch, we have planned to visit The Art and Design Museum to view the Madeleine Albright “ Read My Pins” Collection. We are seated at a table overlooking the fountains and statues of Columbus Circle, the entrance to Central Park, the Museum of Art and Design, and Broadway, the route of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Executive chef, Missy Robbins is not here today, so we send a message to chef de cuisine, Jeremy McMillan to serve us what he would like us to taste, not realizing the abundance and variety of dishes he would send out from the sanctuary of his kitchen. Lunch begins with a delicious ricotta cheese , olive oil and mint spread, served with fresh baked bread, which we devour with a glass of Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay.
The menus are unique and fun to ponder; the Antipasti Menu is priced from $10 to $16; I take a bite of the Baccala, house made salt cod with taggiasca olives, raisins and pine nuts. I usually find this dish somewhat on the salty side for my taste buds, but it is delicate and exceptional; the Fungi al forno, roasted trumpet royal mushrooms with fonduta, mache and hazelnuts is meaty, tender and succulent, with the added crunch of the hazelnuts.
The Salumi Menu, at $8 a selection offers a choice of sweet and spicy sliced meats from Italy, New York and San Francisco; we are served plates of prosciutto di parmi, spicy salami and ‘nduja without its casing (a very spicy and smoky sausage).
The Vendure Menu at $6 a selection, offers a wide range of vegetarian treats, served in small pots including: eggplant with calabrian chili (eggplant can be bitter when not cooked properly; this is delicious) . . . pickled baby fennel with dried orange . . . mushrooms sott”olio with rosemary and garlic . . . beets, pistachio with sweet garlic, thyme, and orange . . . cauliflower with almonds, golden raisins, … radishes and anchovy vinaigrette.
We pass on a salad course but notice the table next to us is munching on a crisp Insalata di crescione: watercress, fennel, citron vinaigrette, grilled goat’s milk ricotta.
From the Primi menu we are served two pastas: Mezzaluna, taleggio filled pasta with butternut squash and brown butter sage (my favorite dish, one I will come back often to order with a green salad), and the Pappardelle with braised rabbit, porcini mushrooms, rosemary, and parmigiano reggiano. We feel as if we are gaining weight with every bite, but keep going as the parade of chef specialties continues to cover our table. Next, from the Seccondi menu: Trota alla griglia, trout, crispy potato fingerlings, bitter greens and anchovy vinaigrette. I am not a trout fan, but the chef picks up the beat with a platter of lamb chops and lamb sausage, served with Umbrian lentils and stone fruit mostarda, cooked to medium rare perfection. Prices range from $22 to $34 for the lamb. A Voce Columbus also offers a Le Marche Menu, a three course $29 Prezzo fisso and a $35, Prezzo fisso, served from 5- 6 P.M.
Save room, if you can for the large selection of cow, sheep and buffalo milk cheeses, and the decadent DOLCI MENU of pana cotta, tarts, pumpkin bread pudding, ricotta filled crepes and their signature Semi Freddo, a semi-frozen chocolate chip mousse, served with a basket of warm vanilla bean donuts and a pot of chocolate Verona dipping sauce; when I bit into a donut, vanilla cream and brandy filling oozed out into my mouth.
A VOCE COLUMBUS has a large open bar, one step up from the dining room, with a special bar menu and sweeping views of the park. This is not a table cloth restaurant, but one that promises to be a favorite with discerning diners who appreciate a traditional Italian feast for one, two or a large group of friends and family.
So many menus . . . so many choices; this is a restaurant one can dine in every night of the week; the food and service will not disappoint you. A Voce Columbus also has two private rooms for events.
For Reservations: 212- 823-2523
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