I sat down to catch up with my best friend, Maureen, for one last wine-fueled dinner before we departed for the holidays. She loves Italian, and I’d been invited to check out the recent changes at Mozzarella e Vino, a classic Italian restaurant in midtown. The restaurant is cozy and classic—with dim lighting, wooden tables, and cozy vibes. We were seated in the cutest little indoor atrium at the back of the restaurant, which was decorated with greenery and string lights. I was charmed.
We began with a lambrusco, a fizzy red wine, at the suggestion of our sweet waiter. I have to admit, I was initially skeptical: a bubbly red? But Maureen is also a wine snob and was already enjoying her pour, so I went for it. Color me impressed—and educated—because it was delicious: fizzy, flavorful, and not too sweet.
We opted to share a salad, selecting the avocado, citrus, and fennel salad with Kalamata olives. It was lightly dressed and the perfect portion to get some greens before we began our decadent dinner.
Next, the mozzarella sampler, because that is a must-order. Three different types of buffalo mozzarella: classic mozzarella, burrata, and a smoked buffalo that was rich and left a lasting impression on your palate. Served with plenty of fresh sliced cherry tomatoes and fresh Italian bread for the table, this dish is perfect for sharing at the start of a long dinner or splitting for a snack at the bar with your girlfriends.
The arancini were delicious: a classic variation of the fried rice balls covered in breadcrumbs and filled with mozzarella as well as foie gras, a decadent touch.
Maureen ordered the classic spaghetti Bolognese, which was served with house-made ribbons of tagliatelle and sprinkled with fresh Parmesan tableside. A pasta connoisseur, she said the pasta was fine, but nothing memorable.
Meanwhile, my short rib order was the perfect winter’s dish: rich, hearty, and packed with flavor from the red wine and tomato reduction. Served over creamy, smooth mashed potatoes, the short rib had a tomato, onion, and red pepper sauce that was flavorful yet fresh. Maureen took home the leftovers for lunch the next day; it was so good.
As this is a classic Italian restaurant and it was girls’ night, dessert was a must. We had trouble deciding between the traditional Italian offerings: tiramisu, crème brûleé, pannacotta, or chocolate cake. We selected the tiramisu and the carrot cake. Both dishes were beautifully plated and presented—almost too pretty to eat. The tiramisu was a delicious classic: espresso layers of soaked, moist ladyfingers with cream and plenty of cocoa powder.
Meanwhile, the carrot cake was deconstructed, with a dense layer of carrot cake topped with a thick slab of fluffy cream cheese cream and dollops of carrot icing on the plate. With a bite of each on your fork, the three came together beautifully. We appreciated that the dessert was not too sweet.
All in all, we really enjoyed this cozy, classic spot with sweet service and a great wine list. We’ll be back.
Mozzarella e Vino
33 West 54th St.
New York NY 10019