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The other night, a friend suggested dinner at Vespa, a trattoria on the Upper East Side. I had never heard of it before, but a little research suggested that a lovely outdoor garden is its claim to fame. This being February, we dined indoors. It was Monday evening, and the restaurant was practically empty.

Speck & Artichoke Hearts

Beets & Goat Cheese
The menu changes seasonally; the winter 2007 menu is currently posted on the website. Appetizers are $8–11, pastas $15–18, meat and fish entrees $18.50–26.50, and side dishes $5. There choices are primarily Italian standards, but all prepared with a high degree of care.

My friend started with the Speck (smoked prosciutto) & Artichoke Hearts ($9), which I didn’t taste, but she seemed pleased with it.

The Beet & Goat Cheese Salad ($9) was a nicely balanced dish, including bits of blood orange and walnuts, with aged balsamic dressing. Beet salad has become rather common around town, but I seldom order it. This dish made me realize I should re-assess that.

vespa03.jpg vespa04.jpg
Lasagna Bolognese (left); Pappardelle with Lamb Ragu (right)

My friend swears by the Lasagne Bolognese with mushrooms ($17.50), and from the taste I had of it, I can see why. The flavor was hearty and intense. I thought that Pappardelle with Lamb Ragu ($17.50) tasted a little more generic. I had to remind myself that I was eating lamb, and not just standard red sauce.

The space is appealing and comfortable, and the service was just fine. Vespa is a great place to have in the neighborhood. Indeed, I wish my neighborhood had one.

Vespa (1625 Second Avenue between 84th & 85th Streets, Upper East Side)

Food: *
Service: *
Ambiance: *
Overall: *

Reader Comments (1)

The two pasta dishes look like someone threw up on the plate. My grandmother would laugh at that, not the old school italian cooking of days gone by. I'm sure it tasted delightful though.

March 1, 2007 | Unregistered Commentershelly

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