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Via Carota

Restaurants, Italian West Village
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(2user reviews)
 (Photograph: Filip Wolak)
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Photograph: Filip WolakBeets and apples at Via Carota
 (Photograph: Filip Wolak)
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Photograph: Filip WolakSvizzerina at Via Carota
 (Photograph: Filip Wolak)
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Photograph: Filip WolakRadicchio with pine nuts and currants at Via Carota
 (Photograph: Filip Wolak)
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Photograph: Filip WolakFried rabbit at Via Carota
 (Photograph: Filip Wolak)
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Photograph: Filip WolakVia Carota
 (Photograph: Filip Wolak)
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Photograph: Filip WolakVia Carota

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

In the #trending slang lexicon of 2015, basic is not a compliment—it’s a dig to the banal, extra-regular-ness of everything from fur-lined Ugg boots to pumpkin-spice lattes. Basic cooking is no exception, redolent with whiffs of home kitchens and hands-on Sauté 101 classes. But the soulful Italian plates served at Via Carota, the first joint effort from chef power couple Jody Williams and Rita Sodi—at once rustic, sophisticated and heart-swelling—proves simple food can be anything but basic.

The glass-fronted Grove Street gastroteca (named after the Tuscan thoroughfare where Sodi once lived) is a chestnut’s throw from West Village charmers Buvette and I Sodi, where, respectively, Williams and Sodi took the reins as downtown’s doyennes of comfort food done excellently. Via Carota’s elegant ease is a spiritual extension of those restaurants and the chefs’ personal partnership, and the in-tandem cooking follows suit.

Pass over the satisfying-but-safe pastas—sacrilege for an Italian restaurant, maybe, but there are more exciting things to be had here—and nosedive into the menu’s deepest section, verdure. There you’ll find fuss-free provincial stunners like the barbabietola ($12), a toss of tender beets and pickled apples flecked with fragrant thyme and tangy pebbles of goat’s-milk feta, and crinkly, charred frills of grilled radicchio ($12), dressed in olive oil and nested with currants and toasted pine nuts. And there are fried whole artichokes, of course, a Sodi staple that come crispy on the outside and delicate at the heart ($8).

You can make an excellent meal here via vegetable alone, but then you’d miss out on the house svizzerina ($20), a bunless, hand-chopped round of New York strip steak that arrives flash- seared and nearly naked, save a few husk-on garlic cloves and a salty, rosemary-licked pool of fat. It’s like the most purist, primal burger you’ve ever had.

Fried rabbit ($19), as lightly crisp as good calamari, would benefit from a spritz of lemon, but Sodi and Williams’s collective confidence in the kitchen largely eclipses such meager missteps. In a food culture fueled by high-tech hybrid desserts and brainiac noodle bowls, the chefs operate with an unflappable, frankly-my-dear disregard for “cool” that very nearly borders on subversive. (The soundtrack is reminiscent of a parent’s Pandora station—think eight-year-old Iron & Wine songs— and the knickknacky room is garnished with more bowls of fruit than a Nancy Meyers movie kitchen.) At Via Carota, Sodi and Williams are keeping things simple and, as a byproduct, simply fucking good.

By: Christina Izzo

Posted:

Details

Address: 51 Grove St
NY
10014
Cross street: between Christopher St and Seventh Ave South
Transport: Subway: 1 to Christopher St-Sheridan Sq
Price: Average main dish: $25. AmEx, Disc, MC, V.
Contact:
Opening hours: Mon–Thu, Sun 8am–midnight; Fri, Sat 8am–1am
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Users say (2)

4 out of 5 stars