Vincent Chirico’s newest dining destination is Vai Spuntino Bar, a small-plates spot in the heart of SoHo. The appetizer-sized dishes offer a broad range of flavors ideal for sharing with friends or dates. The new project comes after the unhappy loss of his Upper West Side restaurant Vai, which was closed in April when the building it was in had to be demolished. Chirico is a seasoned veteran of the New York culinary scene, having worked alongside titan chefs including Daniel Boulud at Daniel, Marcus Samuelsson at Aquavit, and Jean Georges at JoJo. The experience shows in the food and atmosphere.
The space is intimate and unpretentious, with hardwood floors and dark-wood furniture. A handful of tables line the wall opposite the extensive bar, and a large mirror hangs above.
The real standout aspect of Vai Spuntino is the food. Plates like the Hamachi and yellowfish tuna duo served with preserved ginger or ceviche-style arctic char are wonderful for warm summer afternoons. More savory dishes such as the beef short rib on potato offer something a bit heartier.
Pasta dishes offer a nice balance—particularly the delicious truffle ravioli or the buratta ravioli with light truffle cream and parmesan cheese. The plates can be ordered a la carte or as part of a tasting menu (for those looking to sample around, the tasting menu is ideal). Wine pairings can also be added for a fuller dining experience, or you can order the house sangria for something a bit fruitier.
The meal can be finished off with one of the restaurant’s standout desserts, such as the white chocolate cheesecake with blueberry preserve, or mini beignets with white chocolate sauce.
Vai Spuntino Bar
105 Thompson St
Manhattan, NY 10012