Vini e Fritti, the evening counterpart of Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group's trio of Roman-inspired concepts in Nomad, opens Tuesday showcasing the Italian tradition of aperitivo. Like a classier happy hour—one perhaps best enjoyed in a piazza of some kind—aperitivo through USHG's lens means nibblies served with fizzy wines, cocktails and beers, things meant to pique appetite and put one in a relaxed frame of mind.
Executive Chef Joe Tarasco's food menu includes lots of fried bites like suppli—the Roman form of rice balls—stuffed with mushroom and fontina, mixed seafood, and a mozzarella and anchovy sandwich that's been breaded and fried in carrozza-style. Marinated vegetables and bagna cauda—an anchovy-based dipping sauce for crudités—and a handful of sandwiches complete the savory selections.
Misto di Gamberetti e Calamaretti (Scott Heins/Gothamist)
All that fried food requires some effervescence, so Wine Director Katie Morton has compiled a list of champagnes plus a prosecco and lambrusco, a bubbly red wine. Other sparklers include a selection of beers like the two Italian classics, Peroni and Moretti la Rossa. The apertivi have some fizz, too, like the Cappelletti Spritz made with prosecco and soda, and the more rich Cynar Spritz with cinnamom and caramaro.
In the same Nomad space, Vini e Fritti joins the just-opened Caffe Marchio, Meyer's ode to the Roman coffee shop, and Marta, the first pizzeria in the USHG portfolio that's recently expanded to the Martina brand in the East Village.
30 East 30th Street; vinifritti.com. As with other Meyer properties, Vini e Fritti is "hospitality included."