It's been years since I've had a proper dinner in the Time Warner Building in New York.
It's not as if I don't visit. I go to the Time Warner Building almost every time I'm in New York. How can I resist not stopping by - even if it involves riding that escalator up three floors to Bouchon Bakery where I can pick up my favorite cookies and get some treats to take home for friends?
But a proper dinner? That's a bit challenging.
After all, there aren't that many restaurants in the Time Warner Building at Columbus Circle. The few that are there are not the types of places you visit that frequently.
Take Thomas Keller's three Michelin starred Per Se, for example, where the chef's tasting will run you $310 per person (and that's not including wine, tip, or tax). Or Masa, another three Michelin starred restaurant where the price for dinner is $450, the most expensive tasting menu in the country.
In recent years, several more accessible places have opened up inside this shopping center, including a steakhouse, a brasserie, and A Voce Columbus, the second location of a popular Italian restaurant that originally opened in Madison Square Garden.
A Voce Columbus opened in 2009 with executive chef Missy Robbins from Spiagga in Chicago at the helm. In October 2013, Filippo Gozolli, the Italian chef that opened Sirio, took over as executive chef. The restaurant boasts one Michelin Star and is located on the third floor of the Time Warner Building.
Because our dinners this particular New York trip were already tied up with work or family events, we were in the unusual situation where we only had lunchtime free to try new restaurants in New York.
Our first lunch was at an old favorite, Le Bernardin, which was (as always) phenomenal. Boulud Sud was a delicious lunch we had with friends. We chose A Voce Columbus for our third (and final) lunch of the trip.
The menu is available a la carte or prix fixe. Under the prix fixe option, you choose between two courses for $31 or three courses for $38. Under the a la carte option, you have all different types of choices: everything from pancakes ($13) and individual pastries ($4 each) to "Primo" pastas costing between $24-$27 and main "Secondi" dishes costing between $33 and $41.
Our meal began with a complimentary serving of focaccia and ricotta which they brought at the start of the meal. The ricotta spread came with a little olive oil, red pepper flakes, and fresh herbs. It was delicious and curbed any immediate hunger pangs I might have had.
We started with a lovely Insalata di Cavolfiore ($18), a Mediterranean salad which consisted of cauliflower, romanesco (the cauliflower cousin that looks like a fractal!), black olives, capers, whole anchovies, capers, and red pepper. The dish was well seasoned, full of a variety of flavors from the different fresh ingredients. The portion size was pretty generous.
The Uova Poche, or Truffle Poached Egg ($18), epitomized perfection on a plate and was definitely one of our favorite courses. Two barely poached eggs sat ever-so-delicately on top of crispy grilled bread. Each egg was decorated with a generous shaving of black truffles and sprinkling of baby celery leaves. At the base was a beautiful, velvety, oh-so-decadent truffle mashed potato made with fontina fonduta (an Italian cheese). It totally reminded me of the world famous mashed potatoes from Joel Robuchon.
Since this was an Italian restaurant, we had to at least get some pasta. From the Primo part of the menu, we ordered the Paccheri ($25), thick, ziti-like tubes served in a rich Matriciana sauce made with tomatoes, guanciale, Tropea red onions, and Pecorino.
Although we thought the sauce had a nice guanciale flavor, we were a little disappointed because the pasta was just a tad underdone and the sauce was too salty for my tastes. I wished for either a deeper, richer tomato flavor or something to cut the saltiness.
We ordered Tuna Paillard ($28) from the "Secondi" portion of the menu. Paillard is a style of preparation that involves thinly slicing (and possibly pounding?) tuna steaks and searing them on just one side. With this preparation, part of the tuna stays nicely rare even though it's pretty thin.
This flattened tuna served as a base for a bright green pesto as well as refreshing toppings like fresh arugula, celery, orange, and capers. The dish felt healthy and light, which is what I wanted after a weekend of eating more than normal. I thought the dish was nice, but it did not really blow me away in terms of taste.
Dessert was a chocolate covered Tiramisu ($10) served with espresso mascarpone cream and almond gelato.
All in all, it was a nice and pleasant meal on the third floor of the Time Warner Building. The expansive views of Columbus Circle were really nice, and I loved the large windows which brought in tons of light.
As for the food, overall it was an enjoyable brunch. Although our entrees were a bit underwhelming, we really liked the rest of the meal, especially that truffle poached egg.
I think I need to return for a proper dinner in order to really experience the best that this restaurant has to offer. Thankfully, dinner prices here are a little less stratospheric than those of their upstairs neighbors.
A Voce Columbus
10 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019
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