While some people go nuts over Italian food, it has never been one of my favorite cuisines. Give me Mediterranean or Mexican or Indian or Japanese and I'm ready to order everything on the menu. But you'll very rarely hear me suggesting an Italian restaurant. That's not to say that I don't LOVE pizza, eggplant parm and penne a la vodka. I just think growing up we all have so much exposure to Italian food that living in New York City, I'm much more inclined to venture out into the world of more interesting options.
But for awhile now, I've been hearing about Uva on the Upper East Side - an Italian restaurant and wine bar. My aunt offered to take me out for dinner at Uva one night after some doctors appointments and I obviously accepted. Italian or not, here I come!
DRINK & SMALL PLATES AT THE BAR
We started out at the bar with a drink and their extensive wine list was impressive. They also offer flights for a reasonable price ($14).
The best part was that with each drink order before 7 p.m., you can pick a free appetizer! We had the polenta nest with meat ragu and Parmesan and the deep-fried olives. Both were tasty, considering they were free.
We were seated outside and immediately given fresh bread with olive oil, salt and pepper. We ordered the following:
BRUSCHETTE: WILD MUSHROOMS, ARUGULA & PARMIGIANO CHEESE
I'm a sucker for a bruschette menu. Though all four options sounded great, this one won because ARUGULA. It's an obsession.
For some reason, I was expecting this to be served warm, with melty Parmigiano cheese on top. When it was served room temperature, it took me a minute to accept it. This was just alright, in my opinion.
SPIEDINO DI GAMBERETTI
Grilled shrimp skewer over a plum tomato, avocado and palmito salad
I was very torn over what to order. I was trying to keep things light, but at the same time, really wanted to try their homemade pasta. I went with the salad because it had shrimp and avocado, two of my favorites, and I knew I could try some of my aunts pasta :)
I am SO glad I ordered this. They were not at all skimpy on the amount of shrimp and I was perfectly content at the end of this meal. (I even had room to stop at 16 Handles afterwards - THEN I was stuffed).
You could tell the shrimp was actually grilled - it had a delicious charcoal taste to it. My one complaint was that the salad was super oily, but I loved the simplicity of tomato, avocado and palmito (heart of palm).
FETTUCCINE CON GAMBERI E ZUCCHINE
Fettuccine with shrimp, yellow pattipan squash, zucchini, shallots and grape tomatoes, sauteed in extra virgin olive oil and white wine
I tried a bite of my aunts and the pasta was clearly homemade. It had that perfect al dente consistency and I loved that this dish was light and fresh despite being pasta based. The olive oil and white wine didn't take away from the delicious taste of the pasta. No need for heavy sauces!
I definitely plan on making a trip back to Uva and highly suggest checking it out when you feel like a nice night out - good food, good atmosphere, and you won't spend tooo much money. If you're like me and shy away from Italian restaurants because the menus are full of cheesy, heavy, pasta dishes - Uva offers many alternative options that will make you very happy.