I mistakenly posted this under the incorrectly-spelled "Alta Voce on 5th Avenue in the Slope," so I figured I'd repost in its proper place! Apologies for that.
Tried (the new?) Alta Voce last night. My searches on the board didn't turn up anything, so I thought I'd share. The place's decor is lovely, and their prices seemed really reasonable. Unfortunately, when I was chatting with the (very sweet) waiter, he mentioned that the owners *also* owned Aperitivo and Sotto Voce; the former has given me more than one bout of after-dinner misery and I've vowed never to return. So that didn't bode well, but I was lazy and stayed.
Things were looking up, too: the Sangiovese house wine was very affordable ($11 carafe) and fairly tasty (I'm not an expert by any means, but most house wines tend to leave me cold). And the bread on the table was very fresh with a really nice spread alongside it. I had the fried calamari as an appetizer, and it was fine-- not too greasy, nicely seasoned.
The problem was in the pastas, which is where I started having aperitivo flashbacks. I had a basic pasta with olives and meatballs and it was bizarrely dry, with meatballs that were so medicore I left most of them uneaten. I didn't try everything; one of my pals had the puttanesca; it looked exactly like what I was eating. I'm not a big puttanesca fan in general so I probably shouldn't comment on it, but my dish was distinctly blah and his didn't taste much better to me.
It's a bummer, because they did a great job renovating the space and the lower level would be adorable for a birthday dinner or private gathering. Plus, just as with Aperitivo, there are some great elements happening, but the entrees fall so far short that it makes me hesitant to return.
Maybe this place has knock-out specials (some of them sounded excellent to my ears), but I wasn't looking to shell out a lot of cash on dinner last night, and if an Italian place can't do the basic meatballs right, what's the point? I really like La Villa's pizza and Alta Voce made me want to run down the block into the arms of the small, round vegetale pie. (I know some chowhounders might say: why go Italian if not Al Di La, but I dig trying new Italian joints and also am on a budget.)
Also, as a side question did this place first open on the corner of 5th and 3rd, where Coquette used to be and then close? This new location is right next to Balucchi's on 5th Avenue, but I could've sworn that the other place I'm thinking of (on the corner in Coquette's spot) also had a sign up for a time that said Alta Voce, unless I'm just dreaming.
Bookistan, I don't know if you're a fan of Sotte Voce on 7th Ave., but Alto Voce is run by the same people. (BTW, Alto Voce = loud voice, Sotto Voce = low/quiet voice) I think most Brooklyn hounds are NOT big fans of Sotto Voce, so maybe that's why they haven't been rushing to try the new place. That said, let us know what you think, if you try Alto Voce!
I'd been once to Sotte Voce for a casual lunch and thought it was just OK. Anyways, we did go, and it's very different - a white tablecloth kind of place, with brick walls, coppery cookery on the walls, well spaced tables, and a piano up front. The service was incredibly nice. At a few points we had 3 waiters taking care of our table for 3! The food is not up to the par of Tempo or Al Di La, but it's pretty good and certainly a few steps up from Sotte Voce. We had calamari - very fresh, although a bit bland, and bresaola rolled and stuffed with goat cheese and I think arugula (tasty but a small serving). Entrees: Penne with grappa and tomato (a spin on vodka sauce, pretty good), I had salmon (very good and fresh), and my companion had a special, risotto with lobster and shellfish (probably the best of the 3). With a glass of wine for everyone, the bill for 3 came out to just about $100. They also brought us glasses of a dessert wine, gratis. For the service and style of the place, it's very well priced - I think they are trying hard, both in the kitchen and with service, and I'd recommend a visit to anyone, especially if you are looking for a quiet and comfortable place for a meal.
I went about 2 weeks ago. They had a piano player on the main floor and seated us in the dungeon area. It's way too dark down there to see what you're eating. The wine list was really disappointing. The food was solid though. Some interesting duck dishes. I'm sure they're still hammering the menu out. Moderate pricing. Enjoyed the food more than the other new addition, Primo Atto, which was way too expensive for what it is. Give it a shot.