If you took a survey of everything said out loud in this city, not counting expletives, one sentence would appear at the top of the results: “We should get a drink.”
It’s the socially-acceptable way of telling someone, “I have nothing left to say to you standing on this subway platform where I was enjoying listening to a podcast, please let me out of this conversation so I can go back to it - also, you’re perfectly nice but I never really need to see you again.” But sometimes, you actually mean it. You wouldn’t mind seeing this person again, and against all odds, you’re actually going to follow up with them. And when you do, you need a place to meet. You need Vini E Fritti.
Vini E Fritti is a Roman-style cocktail and wine bar from the same team behind Union Square Cafe, Daily Provisions, and more of the places you’d be at daily, if you were just a slightly more successful version of yourself. This place would be useful even if it were just a decent hotel bar (it’s located in the Redbury Hotel) - because it’s in the decent-bar desert between Nomad, Koreatown, and Murray Hill. But Vini E Fritti isn’t a decent bar. It’s an excellent place to drink, and an even better place to eat something too.
Vini’s food menu is split up into “fritti,” a.k.a. fried things, and “non-fritti.” You should focus on the former. Not because beef tartare and crudites aren’t good, but because eating fried baby artichokes or fried pizza dough or fried pork ribs while drinking a glass of wine or a spritz is better. That said, there is one “non-fritti” that’s a mandatory order: the stracciatella cheese and preserved tomatoes, which comes on “toasted” bread (that still tastes more fried than it does toasted). It’s the kind of food you imagine you’d eat every night if you lived in Rome and were friends with the elderly lady who owned the little bread and cheese store below your apartment. Just us? Moving on.
Because this is a NYC interpretation of a Roman wine bar (and not actually a place near a little old lady’s bread shop), the bar is gold, the counters are marble, and the lights are those big globe ones you see through the windows in fancy brownstones. It’s an attractive space that’s just a little impressive - exactly what you want when you’re meeting someone for a drink. Seats are first-come, first-served, but you shouldn’t have to wait long to sit at the bar or one of the high tops. In the meantime, there are standing tables. Everyone looks cooler drinking a negroni while standing. We just decided it.
If this wasn’t clear by now, Vini E Fritti is more than just a place for meetups with people you feel obligated to see. It’s a place you should come by yourself, or on a date, or anytime you want to drink wine and eat fried snacks that inevitably turn into more drinks and fried dinner. The little old Roman lady would approve.
Deep fried little artichokes that need nothing besides the big squeeze of lemon you’re going to give them before seeing how many you can cram into your mouth at one time.
Order these, if for no other reason than to drink champagne and eat latkes at 7pm on a Tuesday.
This is the A-team of bread, cheese, and tomatoes, combining forces to give you a snack you will want to eat every night.
We were skeptical of ribs at an Italian snack spot, even before it occurred to us that they were listed on the “fritti” section of the menu. Don’t be skeptical. These are very lightly fried, fall-off-the-bone, and one of the best things you can eat here.
Feel free to look at this photo and make the decision for yourself.
Remember this the next time you really want an Otter Pop, but you also really want alcohol.