For Rustic Italian On A Cold Winter’s Night, There’s No Better New Spot Than Via Carato
The best NYC restaurants, of course, are the best NYC restaurants no matter what time of year you eat there, whether it's miserably hot and humid out and you want something refreshing and rejuvenating, or fall-ish and festive and you're looking for a party, or when we all get deep into winter, and warmth and conviviality seem to matter most. The West Village, often impossibly adorable whatever the season, seems to have cornered the market on the city's best cozy spots for those long wintertime meals of hearty food and plenty of wine, thanks to the likes of Jody Williams, whose tiny Buvette is as beloved for its fantastic French classics (the dense Coq au Vin, the fluffy Chocolate Mousse) as it is for its haphazard charm; and Rita Sodi, who's been killing it on Christopher Street for nearly six years with her Tuscan fare at I Sodi (get all of the pastas). And now Williams and Sodi, partners in real life, have teamed up in the kitchen to give us one of my favorite spots of all the new openings this season, Via Carota.
What to Expect from Sodi & Williams at Via Carota
The first thing Williams and Sodi fans will notice when approaching Via Carota on always-pretty Grove Street (though conveniently located about a half block from Sheridan Square and the 1 train) is: this place is huge! It's not, really–75 seats puts it solidly in the mid-range of things–but for everyone who has awkwardly (but happily) stuffed themselves around the teeny tables of Buvette and/or I Sodi, Via Carota feels positively palatial. It's also friendly, busy with homey touches in the decor, and exceedingly welcoming, something Buvette in particular has lacked of late. And, as at Buvette, the plan here is for Via Carota to be an all-day spot, a place where you can stop in for breakfast, snack, lunch, drink, snack, dinner, drink, dessert… whatever time of day you need something comfortable and delicious. Though be warned: you will not be the only one showing up for dinner. Though I was seated right away on a Friday night at around 6:00, by the time I left an hour later there was a considerable crowd by the door waiting for a table.
What To Get at Via Carota
As far as the food at Via Carota, if you're in the mood for rustic Tuscan, you will not be disappointed. The current Via Carota menu is divided into such basic categories as Pesce, Pasta, and Carne, and everything is meant to be shared. Servings are generous, though, and you will likely be satisfied with about two dishes per person. The largest section of the menu is the Verdure, with fifteen vegetable-based dishes from which to choose, including my excellent Cavolo Nero, a vinegary pile of wilted black kale studded with sweet pork sausage. My "entree" was also first-rate, the thick-and-rich Coratella, a fricasse of tender sweetbreads and firm artichokes plopped atop a bed of what I guess was polenta. I really enjoyed both of these. Surprisingly, the weak link here was my pasta dish, a Pappardelle covered in a wild boar ragu. Not terrible, but too sticky and lacking zip. The good news: there are many, many other things at Via Carata that sound terrific. Put this place on your winter go-to list, West Village edition.
For Menu & More Information on Via Carota
Via Carota is located on Grove Street between 7th Avenue South and Bleecker. The hours are unclear at the moment–it's never been either of these chefs' habit to be terribly forthcoming on the internet with information–but you can always try calling (212) 255-1962 to see if it's open when you want it to be.