Friday, September 24, 2010

Via Vite: A Review

Last night was date night for Antoine and I. After work I headed downtown, picked up Antoine and we made our way over to Via Vite for dinner. Both of us have never been before, so we were eager to try it out. Plus, we had a coupon burning a hole in our pocket and a very generous gift card that I had received after doing a side project for my department's book conservator. So, not only were we looking forward to some Italian food, but knowing it was going to basically be free definitely sweetened the deal!

The restaurant sits directly on Fountain Square, an ideal location on a winter night with all the twinkling lights and the sparkling fountain, I'm sure. But when it's 5:30pm on a Thursday in September and it's sunny outside, you mainly just lookout onto a courtyard of bums sleeping in the shade. Still the interior is pleasant with it's relax contemporary vibe. I had read reviews of their service that complained that the hostesses were cold and the waiters and waitresses devoid of any emotion or niceness, so I was a little worried. But there was no reason to be. The hostess and our waiter were very pleasant.

We perused the menu which included a list of appetizers, salads, wood fired pizzas, pastas, entrees, and sides. I was a little disappointed that none of the appetizers appealed to me. Antoine, however, was intrigued by the veal meatballs and the eggplant parmesan. But once I wrinkled my nose to the veal meatball (I don't eat veal, or lamb, because I don't eat babies!) he decided to get the eggplant parmesan. I said I'd try it, although I was pretty sure I didn't like eggplant...oh, I was so wrong! I loved it! The tomato sauce was fresh and garlicy (but not overwhelming) and complimented the eggplant (which happens to be quite tasty, who knew!?) perfectly!

For our entrees, Antoine chose the fettuccine "caulifredo" with bay scallops and cauliflower and I decided to get one of the specials I had seen on the dry erase board as we walked in, the Amish chicken stuffed with taleggil (an Italian cheese). Antoine really enjoyed his alfredo and commented on how generous the portion was. I snagged a bite and it was pretty good. Fettuccine alfredo is not really my favorite pasta dish, but it is Antoine's and he was happy. When my dish arrived, I must admit, I was a little perplexed. There was a chicken breast cut in two sitting atop a bed of brussel sprouts and olives. And there was no cheese to be found, which definitely bummed me out! I had never had brussel spouts before so I was eager to give them a verdict, eh. They really didn't do much for me and they were salty. I absolutely hate olives, so I stayed away from those. The chicken was nicely cooked and juicy, but the breading was very salty, as was the entire dish (i.e. brussel sprouts, sauce, chicken skin, and, I'm sure, the olives), so I picked that off. It's a good thing this dish was just a special and not a permanent fixture on their menu, because I would not recommend it to anyone, nor would I ever order it again.

After our entrees we were already pretty full (Antoine even decide to take home a portion of his pasta), but we decided to go crazy and get some dessert. And I'm so glad we did, it was my favorite part of our meal. Antoine ordered the white chocolate panna cotta and I decided on the tiramisu...

Aren't they gorgeous!? [taken by Antoine with his iphone]

Antoine's panna cotta was delightful. Rich but not overly sweet (like white chocolate can be sometimes) and the berries were ripe and delicious! And the tiramisu? Wonderful! It was a VERY generous portion but I ate every last bite! There was a thick layer of smooth mascarpone on top with a layer of rum and espresso soaked lady fingers on bottom. The lady fingers packed a punch and balanced so well with the delicate, rich mascarpone...I loved it!

The meal was a little pricier than our usual nights out, but it was also free! And we still have most of our gift card left, so we'll definitely be visiting a second and third time! I'm eager to try one of their wood fired pizzas which looked very tasty. Yes, I was eyeing someone's pie at the table next to us, what of it!? And I really want to try their spinach and ricotta ravioli in Vermont butter! Antoine's eager to try penne with a bolognese sauce, which I've heard is quite good. I'd definitely recommend Via Vite to anyone (just not the chicken special that I had). And I think the restaurant would have an exceptionally beautiful view when fountain square is snow covered and glittering with Christmas lights!

Sidenote: I miraculously gained no more weight after dinner last night, in fact, I lost a pound...woohooo! That's ten pounds so far!

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