At Vintage, chefs Michael Baratto and and Giuseppe Capobianco bring you in with a wide-ranging ... More »
The new restaurant with the old name is the upbeat, Italian-and-steak successor to Testaccio at the Gardens, a Roman candle that went out last year shortly after it was ignited.
Frankly, that establishment's exit wasn't a big loss. Much better spots have fallen faster on their butter knives in the past couple of years. More important, it allowed for this often very good Vintage, which is subtitled restaurant, bar, lounge.
The black-and-white images of Rome have gone, replaced with New York photos. The rest is pretty much the same, from the centerpiece fireplace fueled not by wood to the textured walls, which resemble distressed stucco.
Try the satisfying onion soup gratinée; or the warm-nut-crusted goat cheese salad. Maybe a special of frisée salad with duck, dried cherries and tiny cubes of Asiago cheese; or fried calamari arrabbiata, sparked with hot peppers.
Skip the dull, uniformly crusted version of mozzarella in carrozza. But turn Italian with a respectable risotto, sporting a trio of sizable shrimp, onions, peas and saffron. Shrimp also star as sauteed jumbos paired with basmati rice and liven up linguine with seafood in a fra diavolo sauce.
Gnocchi alla Bolognese are airy and very good, in a first-class meat sauce. Have it as an appetizer and continue your meaty meal with the outstanding filet mignon, with truffle-whipped potatoes; or the equally recommended New York sirloin with fingerling potatoes. There's also a 22-ounce bone-in ribeye with a potato gratin to increase the competition.
The best main dish, however, is the grilled, juicy center-cut pork chop, set on a sauté of hot cherry peppers, mushrooms and roasted red bliss potatoes. If you're intent on seafood, a special of pan-seared red snapper under a thatch of frizzled leeks will do. Vintage expands its geography with sesame-crusted tuna, accompanied by chilled soba noodle salad, baby bok choy and wasabi-spiked aioli.
At lunch, Vintage's choices include pizzettes, big salads and the dinnertime appetizers.
Unless you're especially excited about a creamy tiramisu, no need to dive into dessert. Cheesecake is routine. Likewise, the shallow, berry-capped crème brûlée. And the apple strudel has the texture of a wrap.
No matter. You'll be full.