I was invited to dine at Via Vite this past Friday and I am still riding the high of the treatment and the experience. I have so much to say that I hope you are snuggled tight in your couch corner with a box of bonbons. This is about to be one long love letter.
Let me just start at the very beginning. Shawn McCabe, private events manager, invited me to come check out all that Via Vite has to offer, and upon accepting the invitation, I excitedly put myself in his, the chef’s, and the staff’s hands. I said I’d love to just show up and follow your lead. And what a ridiculous lead it was.
Immediately upon being seated at the chef’s table, Kenny and I were presented with personalized five-course menus and glasses of champagne. I squeezed his knee under the table while he ventriloquist told me to play it cool but I was exploding with excitement. Manager Chip Roig and Chef de Cuisine Joel Werner (who I am pretty sure smiled the entire time) took complete and utter care of us. I cannot wait to recount it all for you.
First a potato and leek soup amuse bouche. Kenny learned of that on our honeymoon and has been giggling out of excitement ever since. But rightfully so. This was the perfect little teaser treat to introduce the palette to what it would soon be experiencing, which was creamy soup, with truffled fingerling potato chips, and black truffle shavings. I’m pretty sure you stopped reading after truffled fingerling because you know what that means for me. Licked clean.
The first course wine was Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon blanc is my grape of choice and this label is about to be my label of choice. My new friend Chip, a level one sommelier, talked us through the grassy nose and the subtle grapefruit on the palette and I was like yes, uh huh, definitely enjoying the crisp grassy nose. Delicious.
First course was a winter salad with rapini pesto, buffalo mozzarella, and sliced tomato. I am going to speed through telling you that the pesto, crostini, and tomato were perfectly tasty, because the mozzarella, the mozzarella, was just insane. This was hands down the creamiest mozzarella that I’ve ever eaten. I generally love mozzarella for its rubberier texture, but this stuff, this stuff, literally melted. It was almost too delicious.
Next pour was Chateau St. Michelle Riesling. Rieslings are normally not my white of choice, but this was the exact opposite of what I think of when it comes to rieslings. I’ve always equated rieslings with super sweet but this one had soft notes of residual sugar, which made it not overwhelming. Chip called it a perfect food wine. And speaking of perfect food…
The wild caught skate wing with caramelized brussel sprouts, cauliflower puree, and truffle vinaigrette and fingerling potatoes. This is now my newest favorite fish. I’ve never had it before, nor even heard of it, but if it ever graces a menu in front of my eyes again, I’ll slam it shut and scream its name before the server can ask what I’d like to drink.
It is sweet like shrimp and scallops, which is what it likes to feed on, which is what I like to feed on, and sinewy like crab. The fish bites alone were amazing, but scoop a bite with the puree, sprouts, and vinaigrette and it’s a mind blower. This was the number one.
Please enjoy one more shot…
And now for the red portion the evening’s program. This Michele Chiarlo Barbera d’Asti went down like water. Soft fruit, ripe cheery, high acid, the makings of wonderful. This wine is just so good because as Chip said, if it grows together, it goes together.
Third course was what I was lured in the door with: homemade crispy potato gnocchi with four cheese fondue and black truffles. It was just the fluffiest and the creamiest. Rich, savory, makes you feel spoiled rotten. This is a classic indulgent treat that I always order, and compared to all the other gnocchi I’ve had in my life, this one smokes the competition.
After that heavy number, we were treated to the palette cleansing signature sgroppino cocktail: Madisono’s ruby red sorbet, Finlandia pink grapefruit vodka, and a splash of prosecco. It was nearly laughable. It drinks like a dessert but it was an awesome treat to break up the courses. I can’t wait to order it again.
The second red for the fourth course was the Isole e Olena Chianti Classico. This too was one that I was unfamiliar with but knowing now that it is produced by Paulo di Marche, a titan of small produced wine, I’ll make a point to look for it in order to experience the dry, acid, bold sour cherry taste again.
The fourth course. The slow braised veal breast with swiss chard gnudi and marsala reduction. Kenny was all over this one, and while veal is not something I typically order, I was definitely smitten with this dish. Tender, rich, paired with what can only be described as a swiss chard and cheese meatball, really finished the job. This is what you order when you risk your life to Uber it downtown to enjoy a snowy polar vortex Saturday evening. Well worth it.
And now no final and fifth course is complete without a dessert wine. The Isole e Olena Vin Santo, which was almost like drinking alcoholic molasses, was yummy with its sweet toasted almond, oak, and carmel. Delicious to sip in preparation for the real sweet treat.
Now everyone, please join me in breaking out into the Circle of Life, Simba presentation chant for this dessert. Chef Cristian’s “Caramel Complexity” Millefoglie with caramel panna cotta, caramel sea salt gelatto, and bourbon maple syrup. If you made it to the end of that sentence without laughing then there is something wrong with you. So good. So so good. It was ridiculous, it was decadent, it was so insane that Kenny told me to stop talking to him so that he could enjoy. I usually never make it to dessert, but when you go to Via Vite, go in knowing you’ll need to carve out room for this one. It is a must.
And now I’ll tease you with more…
Gosh this was a good night.
Top to bottom, beginning to end, truffle to gelato, this experience was incredible. There was not one element that disappointed, not one unwelcomed moment, not one amazing detail left out. Kenny and I were blown away by the extent to which everyone went and I really have to say this place exceeded all expectations. I mean, the night ended with a round of hugs for godssake.