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Is either A Voce worth trying?

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mla19 Nov 25, 2009 05:36 PM

I know A Voce Columbus just got 2 stars from Sifton but I'm curious whether Hounds think it or the downtown version are worth trying. I've never been to either b/c I've never heard great things. I've been to Marea, Convivio, Scarpetta, Locanda Verde, the Batali places etc so it's not that I'm asking for "good Italian recs". Just curious about these particular places and whether one is better than the other. Thanks very much!!!

  1. j
    jcooper Dec 5, 2009 08:48 AM

    My wife and I had dinner at A Voce Columbus last night after the theater. The decor is nice and front desk personnel were pleasant enough. I especially liked the window into the kitchen. It was late and not that crowded, so maybe we didn't experience the high noise level that others suffered. I recall that their downtown location was the nosiest restaurant I can remember going to (and won't return as a result). My wife had a salad to start and tortellini in a broth. I had the grilled squid and pork chop. For desert we each had a single scoop of ice cream (expresso and dark chocolate -- at $3 a scoop it was the best value desert I've had in a long time). My squid was pretty tasteless and my wife's salad was overdressed. The tortellini was very salty. It came in a bowl which, at first impression, made it look like it was a tiny portion, but in reality was plenty. I guess they liked the shape of the bowl, but didn't consider what kind of first impression, however subtle, it made. The pork chop was very good and enormous. Nothing we ordered made us sit up and say "we'd like to order this dish again". It just wasn't that special. I wonder how much the menu changes each day (it was printed just for the day) -- but frankly I doubt I am going to bother to find out. Our waiter seemed a bit strange, alternating between English and French. That took us by surprise since it is an Italian restaurant. We thought it was just him, but then overheard another waiter doing the same thing (and this wasn't just saying "bon appetite"). Our waiter had an accent that seemed like it was out of some method acting class. All in all, it is hard to recommend A Voce Columbus.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jcooper
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      gnocchicroissant Jun 5, 2010 04:01 PM

      It's definitely not a destination restaurant. But it's not a bad neighborhood or pre theater place.

    2. e
      EliEats Nov 30, 2009 09:57 AM

      I agree that this place is somewhat generic. The acoustics in the dining area are indeed horrendous. Though the bar is kind of nice though. Great place to grab a glass of wine when shopping in Time Warner. Maybe a good way to get a look sometime before going all in on dinner.

      1. o
        Oliverstreet Nov 30, 2009 07:48 AM

        I agree with most of the folks on the thread that the new A Voce on Columbus feels a bit soulless/generic, and the food is pretty middle-of-the-road as well. I think you get better renditions of dishes at many of the East Village Italians like Frankie's and Supper.

        The bread and ricotta, however, is great, so I'd keep it in the back of my head for a glass of wine and a snack at the bar some night.

        1. s
          sam1 Nov 30, 2009 07:30 AM

          i havent been to a voce after carmellini (sp?) left but i never understood the appeal of this place. it was SUPER loud...probably the loudest restaurant ive been to, the food is pretty much watered down italian cuisine and it was quite expensive considering the quality.

          ive tried locanda verde as well and was similarly disappointed.

          for my money, id much rather go to convivio, marea, or even dell anima which all have fantastic pastas.

          1. u
            UES Mayor Nov 30, 2009 04:09 AM

            Just went this past Friday to the one at Time Warner (Columbus) Beautiful space and noise level was not bad-I sat at bar so dont know if noise level different than restaurant dining area. Nice portions of small plates-nothing really outstanding but nothing bad either. Their complimentary bread is SOOOOOOOOO great-was the best part of my experiece.

            2 Replies
            1. re: UES Mayor
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              Scotty100 Nov 30, 2009 04:31 AM

              I recently had a shockingly bad dinner at A Voce Columbus. It was the worst dining experience I've had in NYC in 5 years. I can't fault the staff, who were courteous and professional, but they seriously need to get the kitchen in-line...the quality control on the pasta dishes we had was dreadful. My review here:

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/665816

              1. re: Scotty100
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                FattyDumplin Nov 30, 2009 09:47 AM

                yeah, not to add fuel to the fire, but we went there 2 weeks ago. my pasta came out a little too al dente... to the point that when i tried to bend the pasta, to show our waittress, the pasta practically shattered. she was mortified. but imo, totally unacceptable for pasta to be served that undercooked.

            2. d
              DavyTheFatBoy Nov 28, 2009 01:59 PM

              A Voce Columbus reminded me of a restaurant in Las Vegas - and I've never been to vegas. Some of the food was good, none was great, some was bad. The service was somewhat impersonal and haphazard. I can't imagine ever going back.

              2 Replies
              1. re: DavyTheFatBoy
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                chrisbob Nov 28, 2009 03:48 PM

                I was there a couple of weeks ago. It seems like a work in progress. As Davy noted, some of the food was good, none great. A highpoint: the floor manager pointed to my empty wine glass and asked if I wanted another. When I told her I had been waiting for the glass to be filled the first time, she apologized and provided a drink on the house. Staffers are making an effort, but they have a way to go.

                1. re: DavyTheFatBoy
                  s
                  sugartoof Jun 7, 2010 01:44 AM

                  "Some of the food was good, none was great, some was bad."

                  Sums it up perfectly. Add noisy, and finding yourself surrounded by awkward first dates acting as if they're at Per Se, and it's not the kind of place I'd ever want to return. It's one of New York's many, emperor has no clothes establishments.

                  -----
                  Per Se
                  10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                2. c
                  CornflakeGirl Nov 27, 2009 07:55 AM

                  My husband was at Columbus location a couple of weeks ago and had the oddest experience. His colleague's pasta arrived cool. When he returned it, instead of making a new one, the kitchen threw it back in a pan and added some water to reheat it. They couldn't even be bothered to crack a new egg into it. Completely unacceptable.

                  No problems that I can recall at the original location but it's been a while.

                  1. e
                    edwardspk Nov 25, 2009 07:53 PM

                    We were at A Voce Columbus for dinner after a show this past Friday night. It was a little later than usual (10pm reservation), but we had a perfectly delightful meal. Everything was delicious, and we'll definitely go back. Give it a try.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: edwardspk
                      m
                      mla19 Nov 26, 2009 04:50 PM

                      Thank you all. Definitely seems worth a try!

                      1. re: mla19
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                        gnocchicroissant Nov 27, 2009 07:31 AM

                        we like the mezzaluna and the bomboloni.

                        i'd stay away from the pork belly, which i ordered once - it was actually dry.

                    2. beaulieu Nov 25, 2009 07:38 PM

                      We went to A Voce Columbus last week. The cuisine was very good; well planned, not overly complicated, generous portions. However, the noise level was unbearable and the ambience too glossy.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: beaulieu
                        erica Nov 26, 2009 09:23 AM

                        I've been to the original before the change in chefs. The noise level was about the worst I've encountered in NYC so, although I am tempted very much to return to try Chef Robbins' cooking, I would desist unless the acoustics have improved.

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