Just had a wonderful evening at Vitae which is located in that wasteland of good restaurants - the east 40's. The food, mixed drinks, ambiance and service were all top notch. I love that the food is both accessible and elegant. While many of the dishes are not wildly original, they are well thought out and deeply flavorful. The decor is hip modern - but with comfortable seats.
Try the roasted pork belly paired with pickled watermelon.It is like having winter and summer on the same plate. The lamb orrechiette is rich and tangy at the same time with a perfect balance of meat and greens. The veal ricotta sliders were a guilty pleasure - much like the piping hot parker rolls coated with duck fat. The duck breast/duck confit was good - the brussels sprouts with bacon served with it were fantastic. There was a wine list, but the food seemed better suited to a mixed drink. The drinks at Vitae are not over sweetened. Even the raspberry fizz had some balance, but I really liked the Single Buck, with rum, pineapple and bitters. I was worried it would be a tropical mess, but it was slightly astringent and perfectly refreshing. Drinks, btw, come with a maximum of ice and a minimum of drink.
The service was wonderful. I didn't have to ask for water once. The server immediately told us that any food sensitivities could be easily accommodated. We had a few allergies in our party and yes, the kitchen did take care of them with a good grace that is lacking in many other restaurants.
So - chowhounders, I had seen only one thread about Vitae, but I really think this place deserves a little more.