A Review of Vespa Restaurant NYC

On my way home from work yesterday my boyfriend met me at Vespa Restaurant, a little Italian place located at 1625 2nd Ave (b/w 84th & 85th), for a quick bite to eat (and a large glass of wine ;)). We’d been there a couple years ago and remembered it being decent and having a lovely outdoor garden in the back, plus the lime green polka dot vespa in the front is just too darn cute to pass by. It was just as I remembered…

Very good appetizer, my pasta dish…not so memorable. And I say that because I remember my first time dining at Vespa I got the Polenta appetizer w/ mixed mushrooms and truffle oil, it was rich & delicious. My appetizer this time did not disappoint either. I got the Scottata, mozzarella wrapped w/ prosciutto (popped in the oven for a couple minutes) topped w/ roasted peppers & drizzled with a basil oil. I think I might have to try to replicate this dish on my own one day. Eaten with a slice of the toasted bread from the basket, crunchy & delightful!

I think I mentioned my large glass of wine at the top…$9. Not bad considering it was probably 1/3 of the bottle! Seriously, a glass of Pinto Grigio, from a $30 bottle, filled to the brim. Not a problem for me, it was light and refreshing, just what I was looking for. Several tables ordered the pitcher of  Sangria, seemed like a perfect drink w/ friends.

To be fair, Jared’s Gnocchi Sorrentino was very good. The gnocchi were light and fluffy, the sauce tasty & delicious and it was dusted with the perfect amount of Parmigiana. If I were to go back I’d definitely get that or the Rigatoni Bolognese (my brother got this on our previous visit – I remember him eating the whole serving). I’m yet to try any of the meat or fish because I am a huge fan of pasta but they all sound pretty amazing. Someone will have to let me know if they’re worth my while. :)

My dish, the Black Linguine aglio & olio w/ shrimp and arugula, was bland. I was pretty much adding salt every other bite and the linguine was a little too al dente, another minute would have done a lot of good. The shrimp were the best part, perfectly cooked & full of flavor. And now we’re coming back around to my issue with seafood & cheese in pasta. Some Parmigiana would have made a world of difference in this dish, that or some salt & pepper, maybe a little more garlic, a little lighter on the arugula. Ok so a lot could have been done. This wasn’t my favorite pasta ever, not gonna lie to you.

All in all I’m a little perplexed by Vespa. I LOVE the outdoor patio in the back, it’s so cute and relaxing. They have music playing, fans blowing, the atmosphere is pretty lovely. It’s a great place to grab some girls, have some light bites and a pitcher of sangria (or 2). But the pasta is hit or miss (maybe the menu is too big?), so if you’re looking for a good pasta meal you may want to go else where.

And I feel terrible saying that! Let me put it this way – I will probably go back because I think the place is adorable (plus it’s very close to my apt), and it has some seriously good dishes on the menu — but I will no longer try new plates. It’s better for me to have a dish I know is good already or has been recommended by a friend than to be disappointed by being adventurous. Just my opinion of course! :)

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