Whoever has invented the frying technique in the history of food would be someone who will get plenty of praise for bringing so much diversity to what humans eat as well as blame for making human diet potentially much more unhealthy. While my wife Jun and I do not always eat fried foods, we also don’t mind having a good calamari every once in a while. When I heard the New York restaurateur Danny Meyer opened a new wine bar with chiefly fried dishes, borrowing the deep frying tradition from Rome, I figured this could be a great place for a casual dinner to wrap up a week, so after Jun and her nail partner friend were done with their nails at a shop in UES, I invited both to meet me at Vini e Fritti. Overall, the result of various fried dishes we had tried was mixed, but I also found one non-fried dish that I couldn’t quite get out of my mind.
Are the dishes at Vini e Fritti the most capably fried ones? I could see myself coming back for the delicious mushroom and fontina suppli (we ended up ordering another plate), and the fresh cod was also solid. I was somewhat disappointed with the mixed seafood; shockingly, I found some sogginess in some of the battered ingredients. Potato pancakes with horseradish crema were a little too deep-fried in Jun’s view, and they did indeed taste a little bit overdone.
There were actually more bright spots on the non-fried side. Stracciatella with preserved tomatoes on top of focaccia would’ve been a fine appetizer at any other Italian restaurant, but the dish I couldn’t quite wrap my head around was the pork ribs with Calabrian chili honey. The ribs were absolutely juicy and moist and the spicy kick from the chili honey was so addictive that Jun, a rib aficionado who is not afraid to completely debone one, asked to order another plate. If this dish can be delivered to our home, I’m sure we would order at least every month when we feel too lazy to go out.
Vini e Fritti is really a wine bar than a restaurant, with tall stools around a few tables and a bar area; they don’t accept reservations but the turnover of the tables is quick so you won’t wait too long. There is a variety of Italian beverages, from wines to cocktails to other aperitivo and digestivo drinks; feel free to try a few to complement your munches. Vini e Fritti is not a perfect fried food restaurant and I recommend it more as a place where you can grab some quick bites and drinks to catch up with friends on a short notice.
KenScale: 7.75/10 (Jun’s Score: 7.5/10)
- Creativity: 7.0/17
- Execution: 7.5/10
- Ingredients: 8.0/10
- Flavor: 8.0/10
- Texture: 7.5/10
- Value: 8.0/10
Address: 30 East 30th Street, New York, NY 10016
Telephone: (212) 651-3800