Accademia di Vino Broadway (CLOSED)
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Taking up half an avenue block, Accademia di Vino, the splashy offspring of ’Cesca across town, is an imposing presence on the Upper East Side. A slim, glass-enclosed ground-level bar, a lively sliver devoted mostly to snacking and wines by the glass, gives way to a vast, bustling subterranean dining room. With a low-slung vaulted brick ceiling and wine-motif posters, it does a fine imitation of a Tuscan wine cellar filled not with aging barrels, but with hungry New Yorkers. The encyclopedic menu, as sprawling as the space itself, hits every au courant Italian restaurant note. One half, devoted to small shareable plates, features cold and hot nibbles, salads, tartares, crudi, carpaccios, panini, salumi and cheeses. The larger plates, meanwhile, include pizzas, pastas and hearty entrées. The small selection of dishes we sampled off the overkill menu ranged from the quite good to outstanding. A small crock of honey-kissed kabocha squash gave way to a beautiful plate of salmon carpaccio drizzled with tart black-olive vinaigrette and speckled with basil and diced sweet tomatoes. Chef Kevin Garcia, who also oversees the kitchen at ’Cesca, grills his pizzas, a technique he first picked up at Al Forno in Rhode Island. Among the smoky extra-thin pies, there’s an indulgent creation featuring oozing robiola under dribs and drabs of black-truffle paste. Bucatini carbonara, tossed with salty batons of guanciale, is silky and rich. A thick, beautifully grill-marked veal chop is fork-tender and juicy. Service, meanwhile, is surprisingly sharp and self-confident given the volume and perennially huge crowds (rightfully) clamoring for a table.
|Cross street:||between 89th and 90th Sts|
|Transport:||Subway: 1 to 86th St|
|Price:||Average main course: $24. AmEx, MC, V|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Sat noon–3pm, 5–11pm; Sun noon–3pm, 5–10pm|
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