This post is in collaboration with Via Vai.
Last weekend, I visited Via Vai in Astoria for a press meal. Located at the very end of the NQ subway line, this isn’t an area that I would normally visit, but if you’re in the mood for quality, unpretentious Italian food, it’s worth the trek. I haven’t been to Italy myself, but something about the food, ambiance, and service gave me the impression that Via Vai is the real deal.
Don’t be fooled by the sunshine in my photo above, it was a bitter cold April day. Such a relief to step inside Via Vai! We sat at one of the window seats upfront and basked in the sunshine as we enjoyed our meal. I’m struggling to describe the space and the best I can come up with is industrial rustic with a touch of Italian charm.
Chef Antonio Morichini recently launched a new family Sunday lunch menu, where you get two dishes plus dessert for $28. The best way to enjoy this new menu is to visit with a group and order a bunch of different dishes to share. Everything at Via Vai is made from scratch, made to order, and worth the wait. If you’re hungry, don’t worry, there’s foccacia with olive oil to nibble on in the meantime. Ahh, the simple joys.
The traditional stracciatella soup may look rather unremarkable, but it’s comforting and enjoyable on a cold day. Tasty broth with delicate shreds of egg. The little pieces of orange zest in there added a nice effect.
Next up was the asparagus salad with fresh greens, pecorino cheese, and lemon dressing. Asparagus is in season right now, and this refreshing salad highlights asparagus in its prime. The thick, juicy stalks go so well with the pecorino. I don’t eat much cheese these days, but quality pecorino has always been a longtime favorite of mine.
Sunday brunch/lunch calls for some crepes, and at Via Vai, they stuff the crepes with ricotta, spinach, and asparagus. You can’t really make out much of the crepes from the photo below, but doesn’t the brightly colored tomato sauce look so enticing?
Here’s a second look at the crepes after it’s been cut in half. The crepe itself was thicker than I had expected, but it was still fluffy and airy. It was almost like a light pasta dough too. Good balance of crepe to filling to sauce ratio. Very enjoyable.
And then there was the potato and rosemary pizza! Take a moment and marvel at this beauty. Crafted with love, the crust has the perfect balance of crispiness and soft fluffiness. I am not the kind of person who gets excited about pizza crust, but this one took me to a very happy place.
The potatoes are sliced thin, and there’s a generous sprinkling of fresh rosemary. There’s a little cheese in there too, plus a drizzle of olive oil. Simply delicious. Yes, this is carbs on carbs, but not as heavy as you might think. I expected us to take a couple slices home, but we got hooked on the pizza and happily ate it all.
Last, but not least, there was the panna cotta. We were pretty full at this point, but this dessert was hard to resist. Lovely presentation. Smooth and creamy panna cotta with pistachios, oranges, and caramel sauce that complement the vanilla flavor.
Note: This post is in collaboration with Via Vai. I was invited as a guest to this establishment and received a complimentary meal. This was not in exchange for a positive review and all opinions expressed here are my own.