Velli: it IS good
Wandered into Velli on Houston betw. Sullivan and MacDougal and was pleasently surprised, but not that surprised, to have a delicious meal. I usually rely pretty heavily upon the Jean-Claude Iacchevelli (sp.?) empire since I live in the eye of his storm (Soho Steak, Caffe Lure, Jean-Claude Bistro, Velli) and for the most part they deliver high-end food at pretty low-end prices.
BUT Velli did disappoint me once AND was dissed on this board so I was a bit scared... (The disappointment was that I ordered a favorite dish of fresh fettucine/mushrooms/parmesan/truffle oil... and rather then being the pungent comfort food that I love--and for only $10--it was boring, limp, vaguely truffle scented. The dish is now revised with proscuitto instead of mushroom--to add flavor if they run out of truffle oil again??)
But the other night Jean-Claude came through: I had a medium-rare tuna steak with a wonderful balsamic vinegar sauce, sitting on a bed of braised brussel sprout leaves and mushrooms. (Just the leaves, delicately braised...mmmmmmm, just like I had at Bouley Bakery). The plate was complete with a large dollop of puréed potatoes with a VERY buttery flavor.
My friend ordered the salmon with crispy skin, and as the menu said it was a crispy skin alright... a wonderfully crispy, light skin that dissolved in your mouth with the salmon being, delicate and smooth and buttery. I did not taste the salmon's accompaniments.
We also split the tomato bruschette which put a lot of the bruschette I have had lately to shame. Tiny chunks of marinated tomato were piled above grilled french bread that had a thin but effective layer of black olive paste. The whole plate was drizzled lightly with puréed basil and olive oil.
And as usual perfect portions, no left overs and full, not stuffed. I think the tuna was $16, the salmon was $14 and the bruschette $7. If you want you can dis Velli and Jean-Claude's empire and leave all the yummy food to me or you can go and, hopefully, chow down happily.