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Why not to eat Italian on the UES

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Hey Hounds,

Picking up on another thread, which has run its course, I thought I would give a report on why the UES may be some of the worst, most expensive, Italian food anywhere in the country.

I was invited to Vico's tonight (92nd and Madison, the epicentre of Carnegie Hill, and home to some of the wealthiest denizens of this town). Long time Hounds will immediately stop reading, knowing how bad this place can be. But I'll give a brief report.

Salad special - Spinach and badly grated Mozzarella. Were it served at Lupa, this dish wouldn't make it past the kitchen door and the salad cook would be fired in an explosion of F words. 'Nuff said. $33 for two

Soup - Green, thick. Heavy with cheese. Yura's, on the other corner, sells infinitely better soup than this for under $5. Here, it's $14

Zuchini Fritti, a house special. Ok. $9

Special Pasta - Penne in a red sauce with a few olives. Were this served at Lupa.. no, unimaginable, and unfinished. $18.50

Carciofi e funghi - Four carciofi. A mess of sauteed mushrooms. Bland. Left unfinished. $14.50

Wine (2) $20
Bottle of Heineken $8

The bill came to $124. We couldn't wait to get our of there, and weren't about to argue about the math, so instead, we left an appropriate tip. They only take cash.

The kicker was, I got the blame, not for choosing it, but for not arguing strongly against it! There's no justice.

At least the company was worth it! Steer well clear.

- Sean

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  1. Joanna's on 92nd, bet. 5th & Mad has good Italian. I had dinner there last month and really enjoyed it. Posted about the meal too.

    1. Yes, Donny, I love Sfoglia, but I was outvoted last night. Not next time, though!

      - Sean, gaining manhood..

      1. Sfoglia is a great addition to the neighborhood. I've been to Joanna's once and don't think it is as good as Vico. I have to say, I have always had good food at Vico (and its related restaurant, Sette Mezzo) and great service. It's not cheap, but you quickly learn how to keep the tab from going nuts .... no wine by the glass, make sure you know the prices of the specials, etc. I go, knowing that it is not Lupa, that it is around the corner, that I will be treated well, and that I will enjoy the food.

        1. So sad when you have such a horrible experience like that. I really feel your pain. Same thing is common here in Kips Bay/Murray Hill.

          Seriously... I'd much rather eat mystery meat at McD's than most run of the mill places around here that are inexplicably PACKED all the time.

          At least I'd KNOW what I'm getting at McD's. Well, sort of, but you get my drift.

          1. Vico is good restaurant, i go there pretty often.
            I never order any main course though i just order the endive salad and the fried zucchini. I am a fried zucchini junkie, I order it whenever i see it on the menu. Vico to me has the best fried zucchini. Also I like how they have fresh pineapple for dessert.

            I am really sorry you had a bad experience.

            1. mezzaluna is a reason not to eat on the ues.
              Its always packed. The food is ok sometimed. The past few times i have been there it was terrible and the salad was way to oily.
              The service is junk and the waiters have attitude. They are crazy expensive. IT used to be a great restaurant but in the past year or so it has gone downhill and gotten more expensive.

              I am not going back there for a long time.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jordana

                I wouldn't knock the entire UES because of one bad restaurant experience... Sette Mezzo (70th and Lex) is up there with the best Italian I have ever eaten. It is a bit pricey (and they are cash only), but it’s worth every penny, especially the savory Penne Sette Mezzo made with smoked provola and pancetta. They also have the best gnocchi I have ever tasted.

              2. i think that rughetta, mangiarini, and vespa are good, moderately priced italian places. uva is also good, and is a nice wine bar as well. spigolo is pricier but really excellent, and has garnered quite a few rave reviews from downtown loving folk.

                1. Rughetta is quite nice, Uva is wonderful, and Triangolo has terrific pasta. And they're all affordable. No complaints at all about UES Italian -- mid-priced Italian, anyway.