Went to vento last night and had an over all very good experience, dispite the hour wait (with a reservation).
We proceeded to the bar and ordered two martinis, which were correctly shaken(absolut)and stirred (saphire) and let the ambiance soak in. First thing that hits you is that your standing right in the middle of the food runners path. They go right inbetween the bar and the hostess (Lana who was wonderful despite being a BIT overwhelmed). When the place is crowded like it was last night this can be very hazerdous as i saw two people get smacked in the head with trays. So after about 30 minutes of waiting (8:45) they started handing out champaigne to everyone waiting at the bar, which wet the whistle perfectly and kept my displeasure at bay. After checking back a few more times with Lana (9:00) she bought us another round of martini's and i was well on my way to enjoying the night, regardless of the food.... well almost.
So we finally got seated at 9:15 after a slight mix up and someon else took our table (appaerntly... read: eyeroll)
So we started off with the tuna appitizer, which was an interesting varaition on sashimi/cevichi
it was a delecious platter of 5 peices of raw tuna, with basil cilantro lime juice and sea salt... very tasty and I could have eaten maybe 3 more dishes.... considering i was waiting for over a hour.
For our main courses we had the ribs and the whole fish... which the name is escaping me right now (give me a break 2 martinis...onto the third by now and champaigne).. anyways,
the fish was very delicious and was served in a skillet (yeah like denny's) but was served whole with tomatoes basil olive oil and seasoned to perfection.
the dish as a whole contained a bit too much olive oil, but the fish was spectacular. It was a strange sensation to mix the italian stlye dish with such a delicate well cooked fish. Your mouth instantly wanted to identify the taste as classic italian, but the texture and taste of the fish was much to lite and invoked an association to japanese cooking. Very interesting and fun to eat and definately gave the whole mouth a whirl.
The ribs on the other hand were aweful. They were coated in some nasty dry horribly bitter rub and the ribs themselves were bone dry. I couldnt even eat a full rib...
So i saved my self for dessert.... which was comped and we were given three different desserts, the chocolate semifreda with chocolate sauce and hazelnuts, which was very good, nothing to write home about but tasty.
then there were these little fried dough strands, served in a milkshake cup with wax paper ala Amuse. THese were fricking awesome!!!! with a lemon custard dipping sauce (which was discarded in favor of the chocolate semifreda) they tasted like the most insanely deliscious funnel cake...emmmmm warm, suggary, fried dough!
The lemon tart was delicious as well, very strong and rich and a hearty portion. the top was carmelized like creme burlee and the crust was done very well... served with blueberries which also went well with the funnel cake thingie...
All in all i would have to say that the meal was worth the $57 total price tag. I would give this place a few more weeks to get everything settled and open the outdoor dining then give it another try.
Some of you dont care to write about the crowd, but it was a mix of bridge and tunnels, some villagers, but mostly the lets go to the meat packing district destination diners and go out afterwards. I hope that it falls downa bit on he hip factor, but im guessing it wont when "Level V" opens.... the club downstairs which looked nice and minimal, but boring like all the others around there... anyways, the restaurant has potential to turn out some good meals if it doesnt fall into the trend machine.