A Voce Columbus is a great restaurant in Columbus Circle, and a Michelin-starred restaurant for 2012. If you’re looking for great vegetarian food in New York, particularly around Midtown, this place should be on your list. The food is generally interesting — not the same old Italian stuff you can get anywhere — and lots of menu items either are, or can be made, vegetarian.
I started my meal with the funghi al forno (pictured above). There were a few other choices that could probably have been made vegetarian, but I thought the funghi sounded different, and I was right. The trumpet mushrooms were actually quite substantial — I was expecting a much smaller portion of mushroom. The mushrooms were certainly tasty, with an earthy favor that was complemented nicely by the truffle and contrasted with the green. But the pieces of mushroom were just too large, and difficult to cut.
For my main course, I had the gnocchi, in the small portion. (I often find that the main courses wind up being too much food, so if I have the choice, I get a smaller portion.) I give the gnocchi points for being seasonal: pumpkin seeds and squash, in a well balanced cream sauce, was a good idea. The gnocchi itself was good, too, but I would have liked the ricotta to stand out a little more. As it was, the ricotta blended into the gnocchi dough and the cream sauce: they tasted like an amalgamation of “creamy”, not ricotta and gnocchi and sauce. I think this must just be one of the challenges of making gnocchi; I’ve found this to be the case at some very good restaurants. (Drop a line if you can recommend some great gnocchi!)
One thing that’s not pictured here: I also had a side of Brussels sprouts, and they were delicious. They were roasted, slightly charred on the cut side, and sprinkled with just a bit of sea salt and cheese. They were a fantastic complement to the gnocchi.
People who know me know that I love just about any apple-based dessert, so obviously I went with the mela. I liked the idea of the honey gelato, and it didn’t disappoint. The apples were lightly spiced, and the gelato added some sweetness. I thought the almond tuile looked nice but didn’t particularly add much to the flavor, and I didn’t taste any white pepper. Overall, this came off tasting like a very good apples-and-ice-cream dessert, but not like anything earth-shattering.
Overall, A Voce Columbus is a very good restaurant for vegetarians. I suspect the menu is much more inventive with regard to its carnivorous (omnivorous?) selections, but the vegetarian choices are solid. The funghi was an unusual and very flavorful starter (if a bit difficult to eat!). The gnocchi was executed pretty well, and the dessert was solid. A Voce Madison gets one star in the latest Michelin guide, meaning “very good cuisine in its category”. I would agree. A Voce Columbus ranks above the “solid, but nothing amazing” restaurants, but below the ones that really go above and beyond in some way. Three and a half stars.
Per usual, the menu: