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Photos: Bridget Kenny/QNS
Photos: Bridget Kenny/QNS

With a few more months of winter left, it’s good to know a few reliable places that can heavy-pour a glass of wine. I recently checked out Vite Vinosteria, a delightful, hip Italian eatery just off 31st Avenue on 34th Street, to get out of the cold for a nice meal with a perfectly paired drink.

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A glass of Chianti was on my table within minutes. Normally, I’m a beer guy, but never in my life has “when in Rome” been a more appropriate phrase. The Chianti was quickly followed by a red Tuscana wine, which I had to force myself to slow down on, lest I drink all the wine in the place before the actual food came out.

And I’m glad I waited, because the Tuscana paired wonderfully with our first course, grilled octopus on a bed of greens. I’ve had my share of seafood before, but this was my first experience with the eight-armed delicacy. It reminded me of swordfish and Caribbean jerk chicken, and it might have been my favorite selection out of a night of amazing dishes.

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Or rather, it would have been my favorite dish, had the ribbon pasta not come out next. My God, this was some of the most tender beef I’ve ever had in my entire life, and I couldn’t stop myself from coming back to it throughout the meal. When profiling a restaurant like this, our intrepid photographer, Bridget, and I will split the meals evenly. This was one time where I had to make it very clear to her that she could have any other dish for herself, but this one was mine. Really amazing stuff.

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Another glass of red, another dish: fagottini. Perhaps more easily thought of as a pumpkin ravioli, it was a sweet, well-balanced medley of autumn flavors, cheese and dough.

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Burrata, a creamy, tasty mozzarella appetizer, came out shortly after, and I can’t ever help myself when it comes to burrata. It paired beautifully with the sweet pumpkin flavor in the fagottini.

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This round of dishes was wrapped up with a skillet of prawns, shrimps and mussels on a bed of spaghetti with a savory sauce.

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The pièce de résistance, a succulent roast pig, was the last of the entrees to come out, and what a beautiful spread of pork it was. Crispy skin gave way to tender, juicy meat, and I paired it with another glass of the Chianti.

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Of course, an article for QNS wouldn’t be complete without me forcing my body to fit more delicious food inside it than it can physically fit, so even after this impressive spread was cleared, there was more to eat. Leave it to the Italians.

Some lovely tiramisu and biscotto came out to end the meal. The chocolate sauce was light and didn’t get in the way of the coffee flavor, which incidentally one of the best coffee-flavored desserts I’ve ever had. But the biscotto — santo cielo, this was good. Whole pear slices (no weak puree business to be found), brownies and gelato stacked like a parfait in a small mason jar was the perfect nightcap. (And, of course, a small bit of bourbon.)

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Vite’s offerings are as varied as they are delicious. Come for the pig, the seafood or the pasta (or with some dishes, all three), but stay for the excellent service and cozy brick interior. The wait can be a bit long some nights, but the prompt, attentive waitstaff makes the line worth it. If you want the stripped-down Vite experience, be sure to check out Vite Bar on Broadway, as well!

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But whatever you do, don’t tell them you’re full. They take “full” as a challenge.

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