Restaurant of the Month: Uva
Nestled on 2nd Avenue between 77th and 78th Streets on the Upper East Side is a really special spot called Uva. I first came here for a birthday party, which was held in the basement (i.e. the wine cellar), and was so enamored with the food, the aesthetics, and (of course) the wine selection, that I’ve returned countless times since. And in case you were wondering, an Upper East Sider I am not, so to travel all the way uptown for food is saying a lot.
The restaurant is set up to feel more like a wine bar, and is rustic and relaxed in all the right ways. Envision exposed brick, candlelight, cozy tables, and special touches such as a fireplace and year-round garden seating. And even if you’re not attending/throwing a party, you can enjoy dining in the wine cellar (assuming it’s not rented out), which is a really magical experience, transporting you from NYC to Italy in the pour of a glass of Chianti.
Every server I’ve had at Uva has always steered me in the right direction when it comes to wine, so if you’re in the mood for something specific, I suggest you describe your ideal glass and I bet they’ll make it happen. But if you’re feeling a bit more spontaneous, try one of their wine flights (seriously, so much fun and you’re sure to find a few new favorites this way.) They have a wide variety available, from a bubbly flight ($14) to an old world white flight ($14) to a fruity red flight ($15), and many more. And their selection of Italian wines is probably one of the best in the city at this price point, so take your tastebuds on a little vacation and try something new!
Since you’re dining Italian style, there’s no better way to start off than with a sampling of their delicious bruschette–there’s 4 different kinds to choose from but my very favorite is the sheep’s ricotta cheese and black truffle honey for $6.50. Since you’ll be drinking wine, pairing it with a few cheeses is always a great idea. Depending on what wine you’re drinking, your server will expertly recommend what cheeses go well, and you can get a choice of 3 for $21. And don’t forget to integrate some greens into your meal, may we suggest the pan fried baby artichokes tossed with rosemary and parmesan cheese for $14.
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The Main Event
While there’s a variety of non-pasta dishes to choose from, we’ll give you a gentle suggestion and nudge you in the direction of ordering a pasta–the noodles are made in house and you can truly taste a difference. For meat eaters, go with the homemade pasta ribbons sauteed with ragout of veal and montasio cheese ($19), and for vegetarians, the homemade gnocchi in a creamy truffle and chive sauce is truly delectable ($19).
By this point there’s a good chance you’re feeling a bit stuffed, and thankfully there’s some lighter dessert options on their menu, such as strawberries and mascarpone cream for $7.50, or three scoops of gelato for $6.50 (hey, it’s lighter than three scoops of ice cream!) But if you’re up for the challenge and can handle one more intensely satisfying course, give the chocolate cake with freshly made espresso coffee and caramel sauce, topped with vanilla ice cream a try ($9.50). It’s heavenly!
Special Event: Meatball Mondays
If you’re a meatball fan, Monday is the night you absolutely must stop in to Uva. They celebrate every week with “Meatball Mondays”, featuring a special menu of everything meatball. We’re talking kobe beef meatballs to start, ricotta cheese and nutmeg meatballs as your main event (see, it’s totally veggie friendly, too!), and chocolate truffle balls to finish, to give you an idea of what to expect on the menu. You can even do a meatball prix-fixe, which gets you 3 courses and glass of wine for $36. Cheers to that!