I'm going to Vetri this weekend and am very excited (albeit a bit nervous about the cost!) I was wondering a few things before the big night:
1) Is the wine pairing worth it for an extra $95 per person, or could a good bottle do? Do they have reasonably priced bottles? Any recommendations?
2) What is the appropriate attire? What kind of vibe is it?
3) Anything else I need to know? (basically looking for reassurance here that it is going to be an amazing meal and worth every penny!)
Vetri is worth evrey penny. Have no fear. I have a hard time with dress issues, but as a woman, I usually wear dress pants and a jacket except in summer (I don't wear dresses as a general rule) Men usually have jackets, not necessarily ties, not jeans. I think the best description is Marc Vetri's own - he wants you to feel like you are in his living room. And that's how the staff will treat you. While we are once or twice a year regulars (and yes, they do remember that) we took my brother and his wife and my Mom (88yrs old) 3 weeks ago and they can't stop raving - as much about the amazingly wonderful service as the food. I think the wine is worth it with the tasting menu, but if you want to go the bottle route, tell Jeff or Steven (whoever is working the front of the house - Jeff is Jeff Benjamin, co-owner and Steven works the front when Jeff is at Osteria) what you want to spend, and they will help you choose, AND they can make sure your tasting menu opts are in line with your wine. These guys are good - they won't let you order wine and then send out an entree that is awful with it!!!!
Please relax and enjoy your meal. As I said, I eat here with some regularity, but take your time! Your servers will talk to you - but not in that annoying Applebees way. Ask questions. You are paying for the experience - make it what you want it to be. Have Grappa at the end of the meal (my god you've spent a fortune, why not?) They have the best. Do something you've never done - ask the sommelier to join you (you don't get charged) - he may decline, but especially if you have ordered a bottle he'll appreciate the gesture (Old fine dining rules gave the sommelier a glass from your bottle). Oh please report back and enjoy
I agree that the wine pairing is worth it. We were able to try wines we would have never ordered off of the list (due to our lack of knowledge and/or price of bottle). It seems expensive, but we found the value of the pairings to be exceptional.
As Bigley9 says, either way you choose to go on wine you will get great guidance. I have found it to be one of the least intimidating places to order wine in the City while still knowing I'll get a great selection. Overall, I have been impressed with how relaxed the staff makes you feel. I think we are taught that the higher the price, the more uptight and formal a place will be. Not necessarily the case here, although they are certainly exceptionally professional.
I have gone with pants and a nice sweater or other top and my husband has worn dress pants and a collared shirt and sweater. You could go dressier, but you also want to be comfortable. It's not a quick meal.
I believe I wore a skirt when I went, but nothing too dressy. There were people dressed up and people dressed down when we were there. Nothing to lose sleep over. My husband did the wine pairing, and I was planning to, but realized after reservation was made that I was pregnant. When we go back, we would both do the pairing. I agree with previous posters that said you will easily find help choosing a bottle if you want to go in that direction. Enjoy your evening, it was amazing. We did not bat an eyelash spending what we did for the experience of dining at Vetri and look forward to returning. Well worth every penny. Report back on your experience!
Vetri is great! Answers to your questions below:
1) If you're willing to pay for it - I'd do the wine pairing. When I went, we were greeted with a glass of prosecco which prompted us to get a bottle instead. The sommelier was extremely helpful in making sure our bottle selection matched our tastes - we just simply asked the bottle be priced under $100.
2) We dressed "up" a little to make a night out of it. We were a little horrified, however, when we were seated next to a pair of children ages 10-14.
3) With the chef's tasting menu, you are given the opportunity to advise what you like and don't like as you are seated. If you want to have a better chance of trying everything, you should try to have each person in your party request different items.