Scrambling to confirm Holiday plans just one week ago, I decided on A Voce for our Christmas Eve dinner. A Voce has always been in the back of my mind as a place that I’d like to visit, but usually forget about it, until I hear about a friend’s experience or come across a restaurant review.
A Voce has 2 locations in the City, one on Madison Avenue and the other at the Time Warner Center. In all honesty I selected the TWC location based on the festive area near Central Park and also because the complex houses Per Se, Masa and the Landmarc–A Voce must be good in order to compete with these businesses, right? Kidding (kind of). I actually went through a minor period of remorse for not picking the Madison location with Uni pasta on the menu!
Our reservation was for 8:15 pm and the restaurant was completely packed. The ambiance is romantic and dim and my boyfriend and I were seated against the wall and had a transparent view into the large wine cellar that holds hundreds of wine bottles. Upon ordering, we received complementary, fresh focaccia bread and ricotta cheese with olive oil drizzled on top.
For appetizers we ordered the Cassoncini (swiss chard and crescenza cheese filled fried dough, prosciutto di parma) $11 and Pancetta (pork belly, figs, balsamic, pistachios) $13. Both delicious, the Pancetta offered a duality of taste with the sweet figs co-mingling with the not overly salted, savory pork belly. The Cassoncini itself is a safer yet satisfying option, tasting similar to that of a Spankopita, except now wrapped in prosciutto.
I was disappointed that the Pici (cocoa pasta, duck bolognese, golden raisins, pine nuts) had sold out because I was craving longer noodles and was also intrigued by cocoa infused pasta. When informed that this was no longer an option, I scrambled to find something under the Primi section of the menu. Nothing especially jumped out at me and so I settled for the waiter’s recommendation of Agnolotti (cauliflower filled pasta, anchovy, lemon, breadcrumbs) $22. My boyfriend ordered the lamb and sausage tartare $39. My Agnolotti was rich in a creamy sauce with lemon zest. Each bite had the perfect combination of cauliflower and sprinkled breadcrumbs. The lamb was tender and delicious but nothing out of the ordinary. On the other hand the sausage tartare was an interesting addition to the dish, balancing the gamey taste of the lamb.
We topped off dinner with complimentary marshmallows, Bomboloni alla Toscana (tuscan doughnuts, bittersweet chocolate) $11 and Semifreddo (semifrozen espresso mousse, espresso caramel, chocolate, milk) $10. Any dessert with chocolate never fails in my eyes, but I must say the marshmallows were a highlight because of the light lemon flavoring and the soft, half-melted texture. I’ve never had anything like this before.
All in all, the ambiance and food alone have made it worthwhile for me to revisit again. I’m curious to actually try the Madison Avenue location for comparison. The service was lacking and the waiter did not appear to be fully engaged (or energetic) when it came to serving his customers, which is not indicative of a 1-Michelin star restaurant.