This West Village retreat is an ode to the chef's own 17th century Tuscan home and the rustic fare of the region.
What do you get when two of the most talented and passionate dames of Italian cooking get together and decide to open a gastroteca? When the two women in question are Jody Williams, the chef and owner of the much acclaimed Buvette in the West Village and Rita Sodi of the adored i Sodi—you get Via Carota.
This rustic West Village retreat is an ode to Sodi’s 17th century country house in the hills outside of Florence and it’s as simple as it is appealing; it dazzles in its understatement. Begin at the long marble bar with a Negroni and salty, fried green olives stuffed with pork sausage. Then, in warmer months, move on to the charming sidewalk café for a couple of glasses of rosé and a few of the verdure—a gorgeous mélange of fava beans with escarole, mint, basil and pecorino, and a salad of leafy greens in Sherry vinaigrette. (And I don’t want to hear, “But it’s just a salad.” It is not.) Move inside to a farmhouse table to uncork a bottle of wine and dig into a few pastas, which are all exceptional. In particular the strata smothered lovingly in basil pesto and cacio e pepe, unforgettable, tossed with tonnarelli. You might have the grilled sea bream with escarole, or a dish of fried rabbit, with rosemary and garlic, or a bowl of meatballs, Sicilian style, flecked with pine nuts and raisins. But you must have the Via Carota Svizzerina, something I’d never seen before but have seriously dreamt about since my first encounter with it. Picture a hand-chopped, 100% grass-fed steak tartare, but formed into a patty and then seasoned up shamelessly and seared like a burger. It’s salty, rich and meaty and, a minor miracle. The feeling that you will have for days to come after your visit is, I must return.
- Subway: 1 Train to Christopher Street
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