A Voce – Highly Recommended
41 Madison Ave, New York 10010
At 26th st
Every once in a while, you’ll run across a restaurant that will make you say – what the f. Spotted pig had the “what the f effect,” as in: what the f, this burger tastes like a salt rock. Last Thursday, A Voce made me say what the f – this food is delicious, how does he do it. The only way to describe A Voce is Italian food done with great French technique. Some may say it’s not even Italian food (foie gras appeared on two-three of my dishes), but in the end it doesn’t matter – the food is great. Overall, I give the restaurant a 89/100.
1) Crositini ala Toscana – Highly Recommended (must have)
2) Duck Meatballs – Highly Recommended (must have)
3) Beet Salad – Highly Recommended
4) Grandmother’s Meat Agnolloti – Highly Recommended
5) Pistachio Tart– \Recommended
6) Bombolino’s – Recommended
7) Ricotta Cheesecake and Concord Grape Sorbet – Not Recommended
1) Basically a spread made of chicken livers, foie gras, and a gelee of muscato on top. Perfect texture, intense chicken liver/foie gras taste, and the sweetness of the gelee on top is a nice offset. Great with the grilled, earthy tuscan style bread.
2) The biggest what the f moment of the night. Duck and pork (I think) make up these meatballs and it’s stuffed with a piece of foie gras in the middle. Tiny meatballs exploding with flavor. Now, this is Italian in looks, but definitely very French. Celery root puree, red wine/cherry sauce, and topped with celery leaves. Wished the meatballs were a tad softer, but this dish was still killer.
3) Perfectly sweet, roasted beets and pears. Some type of Gorgonzola concoction on the side. Again, the contrast in textures and flavors worked perfectly here.
4) A braised meat ravioli which I’ve never had before. Usually, ravioli meat is ground kinda like burger meat, but this was more like braised short ribs (except I think the meat was pork and duck). Not really a mind blowing dish, but very homey and satisfying. Pasta texture is perfect, filling is very tasty, and the tomato sauce is incredible – light and tasting like the freshest tomatoes only. I’ve seen the tomato sauce made on Colameco’s Food Show, but after tasting it I think I’m going to use this as my tomato sauce from now on.
5) Pistachio is one of the ingredients that screams Italian to me and this is a pretty good Pistachio tart. A pretty good vanilla gelato and fresh berries accompanied the dessert. This dish is a bit of a let down after the onslaught of great dishes before.
6) Dave, our waiter recommended this over our cheesecake and he was totally right. This dish is just pure fun. Crunchy donuts, with a cream feeling and side of rich chocolate sauce to dip. The donuts could have been fluffier, but this was still so much fun to eat.
7) Cheesecake was decent, but the concord grape sorbet had the taste of freezer burn, which ruins the dish.
Overall Restaurant Experience (89/100)
- Food 9.1/10 – Great food period. Not always Italian, but usually always delicious. Nicely presented. Unfortunately, the desserts don't live up to the rest of the dishes.
- Service 8.8/10 – Waiters are attentive and the food comes out on time. Dave was incredibly helpful and was good to talk about the food with him, since he seems very passionate about the food also. Thanks again Dave.
- Atmosphere 8.0/10 – We sat outside. which was very noisy, especially since there’s a bar (I think) that’s outside also – a few loud obnoxious people. However, that’s offset by seeing beautiful people walking around outside. We go there at 9:30 on a Thursday night and we’re seated right away – still busy though. Place was packed with groups of women and some older couples.
- Price 8.5/10 – Price was expensive, but definitely worth the quality of the food - $90 a person.
I’ve always had the notion that doing Italian food in an elevated way would never work. When I visited Rome and Amalfi, the worst meals were always these fancy dishes done by these Michelin star restaurants. The best were the grandmothers cooking the food. A Voce has now totally changed my mind. The Michelin star restaurants were all about presentation and doing things in a new way, but they lacked flavor and soul. A Voce delivers the elevated Italian food with the great flavor and lots of soul. Dave told us about truffle season in November and I’m already rounding up the fellas to go back.