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Posted by Doc Alan on 03/01/2013
Small restaurant with rather tight quarters- but this is not unusual for this part of town. I found the service to be knowledgable, non-rushed and accomodating. The quality of food, preparation and presentation were excellent. My wife had a roasted branzino and I had a steamed sea bass, both superbly done. Portion size was adequate.Daily specials were announced but no prices given- I find this a common source of annoyance. My only quibbles were 1) no side dishes were included with the entrees. $7 for a side of potatoes seemed excessive. 2) I thought beverage prices were also high. $15 for a glass of wine...
Posted by Frankie on 02/18/2013
For years, I swore off eating on the UWS -- too many faux bistros, too many strollers, too many servers with attitude, too much mediocre food. Then I discovered Vai, a real jewel. It is small and cramped, and from the street can look almost like a coffee shop. It is anything but. The service is friendly but polished. The food is inventive. With each visit, I have come to appreciate it more. The vegetables on the menu sound just like vegetables, but somehow they come out tasting like much more interesting dishes. Same with the salads. The beef duo is sublime -- small portions, but worth every bite. My husband loves the scallops. No complaints about the martinis either . It ends up being a very comfortable place, and it is nice to see the chef/owner circulate among diners, not intrusively, but as if he just wants to be sure people are enjoying themselves. A few small, isolated gripes. Once when we went early, the hostess sat a trio, including a very active toddler, who was being fed his own little supper brought from home, with great noise and fanfare. Couldn't figure out why a hostess would seat the group two feet from us when there were plenty of empty tables. Once I ordered the pasta ragu and was disappointed. These are small quibbles about a place that is warm and inviting, with excellent food and service, and that reminds you why you go out to dinner in the first place -- not just to get out out of the house, but to enjoy food and service that make dining an event.
Posted by Dr. Bob on 12/30/2012
Third time at Vai, and this time brought the family. All of us are foodies, and all agreed that each dish was prepared well and tasted delicious. This is Mediterranean food as it should be...uncomplicated dishes with great flavor obtained using top notch ingredients. Fairly valued wine list. Six thumbs way up! Looking forward to trip number four.
Posted by Familyfoodie on 06/18/2012
Ate at Vai for the first time last night, had a very good experience. Menu is small, and it looks like it changes often, but there were many good options, and everything that came to the table was fresh and superb. Hamachi and Tuna crudo, grilled octopus, and seared sea scallops were particularly good. The pricing was reasonable -- we ate for about $50 pp with only 2 drinks for the 5 of us. Overall, the quality of the food was very high, especially by upper west side standards.
Posted by Amanda on 06/09/2012
I love Vai! I went to the old spot for years before the building got torn down, followed them downtown to Vai Spuntino, and was extremely happy when Vincent came back to the Upper West Side! The food here is amazing. Everyone I know that has eaten here and everyone I have taken to eat here loves it as well. I can list all of my favorite dishes but it would include most of the menu (either crudo, the scallops, lobster risotto, beef duo, brussel sprouts, ravioli.......). I have never had problems with the service, and frankly this location is larger than the original so I never feel cramped. It is a popular, crowded spot because the food really is that delicious, so try it out!
Posted by anonymous on 04/14/2012
We made a reservation well in advance for a party of four and we arrived exactly on time. During our 30 minute wait we were ordered to stand at various places in the restaurant. When we politely asked about our table, the maître d' was extremely rude to us. After a while we were offered the worst seat in the house. When we asked if we could sit at another table, the Maître stepped it up a notch in terms of rudeness. Needless to say, we left. This place reminded me of a bad airline; cramped space, noisy, rude staff, they overbook and make you wait.
Posted by Chris on 03/10/2012
We made a reservation for 8:00 PM. They made us wait for 25 minutes in a fully packed restaurant-- no space to stand. Even the waiters were bumping into each other. We were there with a friend who is pregnant and they made no efforts to even offer her a seat at the bar while we waited. The greeter was rude and never even apologized for the wait. And then he became angry with us after we refused to sit in the worst table in the restaurant in the back, by the noisy kitchen where waiters were walking in and out with food constantly. There are so many great restaurants in this city with amazing customer service, don't even bother with this place. After being treated so poorly we went down the street to another restaurant where we were treated SO well and had an amazing meal. Vai is such a disappointment. And the greeter needs to take a class on how to treat customers. We live in the neighborhood and will never even consider going there again.