Long Live Vic’s! Italian Farmhouse Cuisine arrives on Great Jones in Noho.
Talk about meeting cute! In 1993, Vicki Freeman hired a young chef named Marc Meyer for her VIX Cafe in Soho (which, needless to say, was a pretty different neighborhood back then). Five years later the two were married, and well on their way to establishing one of downtown's most beloved restaurant mini-empires, with Five Points in Noho, Cookshop in Chelsea, Hundred Acres in Soho (the original VIX is long gone), and Rosie's, coming soon in the East Village. But even though Five Points was one of those never-not-packed brunch spots, Freeman and Meyer thought the space, the menu, all of it, needed a change. Enter new chef Hillary Sterling–who previously worked the kitchens at Bar Bolonat and Beatrice Inn, among other hot spots–and the pretty, casual, comfortable Vic's, just opened last month and serving some first-rate Italian on cobblestoned Great Jones Street.
What to Eat at Vic’s, the Five Points Team’s Fresh New Restaurant
I went to Vic's over recently and ate as much of the super-appealing menu as I could. And, given that everything's pretty reasonably priced, especially for this area, I'll be back soon to put another chunk in it. Sterling, Meyer, and Freeman are all adamant about sticking to a market-fresh ethos, so be prepared for frequent menu changes and tweaks (in fact, one potential "signature dish", the Crispy Eggplant starter, is already gone for the season), but you can expect a mix of interesting snacks and salads, generously-sized "individual" pizzas, pastas available in two sizes, and a handful of meaty entrees. I started with a heaping of appropriately named Bitter Greens, which were bright and lively, the harsh flavors tempered by fennel, balsamic vinegar, and some sort of sweet crunchy flat-bread thing on top.
Home Cooking and Hospitality Done Right
And that seems to be the way Sterling's dishes work: strong flavors with any rough edges smoothed out by their contrast. Take my pizza, for example, which, among its other qualities, was huge for a $16 pie at a place like this. The medium-thick crust (both chewy and crisp, depending) was laden with salty prosciutto and nose-clearing, freshly-grated horseradish, complemented by sweet homemade ricotta and, kind of randomly (but welcome nonetheless), sprinkles of poppy seeds. And my bowl of pasta was a winner as well, al dente Tortellini stuffed with creamy potato, studded with crispy guanciale, swimming in a bowl of what my server accurately described as "smoky bacon broth". Really hit the spot on a cold not-even-really-winter-yet night.
For Menu and More Information on Vic's
Vic's in located on Great Jones Street just east of Lafayette. The space was gut renovated, and the room is welcoming, farmhouse-ish, relaxed, with ample room between tables and, at least when I was there, not screamingly loud. Vic's is open daily from 12:00 noon to 2:00 a.m. For more info and to see the menu check out their website or follow Vic's on Facebook.