NYC Restaurants

Vela

CLOSED!

55 West 21st Street
New York, NY, 10010
212-675-8007
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Cuisine: Japanese , Brazilian

Menu:   View the Menu

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Cititour Review:

It's no longer enough in the restaurant world to be just one thing. Take Vela, a new addition to the burgeoning Flatiron-area dining scene. A serious restaurant early in the evening, the room becomes more club-like as the night wears on (with the tables even being lowered after 11). Meanwhile, the cuisine is primarily Japanese, complete with an extensive selection of sushi, but there are plenty of touches from Brazil and other points Occidental. This fusion of East meets West can even be found in the house's signature drink, the Velatini, which merges Grey Goose vodka, sake, cucumber, litchi and shiso leaf. Starter portions are quite small, so you can do a fair amount of sampling. (They are also rather expensive; running up a three figure per person bill here is child's play.) Topping the list were three skewers of beautifully barbecued kobe beef topped with a jalapeno dressing. Three jalapeno peppers stuffed with crab and fried in a light tempura batter were also tasty, but rather insubstantial. Of the two tatakis (sort of a Japanese ceviche on skewers) we sampled, the ultra-fresh pink snapper in a yuzu-based vinaigrette was far superior to so-so cured salmon overpowered by a topping of guacamole. A must-have dish, perfect for sharing or as a light supper, is the salade de linguica, a tower composed of corn, black bean, heart of palm, artichoke hearts, grilled mango and shredded beet, flanked by mini-links of the spicy sausage. Our two entrees were also triumphs: Generous chunks of barbecued lobster and sea scallops in a pineapple-cream sauce, perched atop forbidden rice (part white, part black) and scooped into a pineapple round, was divine. No less good was perfectly prepared organic duck breast, accompanied by a pair of polenta fries, grilled starfruit and sautéed bok choy. And many diners around us seemed pleased by the Wagyu rib-eye. We were too stuffed to do much dessert sampling; the espresso flan turned out to be worth ordering only for its accompanying coconut meringue cookies. You can't have everything, even when you're trying to be everything.

Review By: Brian Scott Lipton

Neighborhood: Flatiron District

Payment: Amex Visa Mastercard Discover


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