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 CheeseThe 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.
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)