Dinner Out @ Via Vite

We'd had a restaurant.com coupon for a while for Via Vite, and a 7:30pm concert:nova show at the Mercantile Library last night was a perfect opportunity to eat and then walk across the square to the event.  I'd heard mixed reviews, and now that I've been I'd say I'm not surprised.  There was nothing terribly wrong, but nothing excitingly right either - par for the course.

The Food:  We ordered the grilled asparagus salad to share, and then two pasta dishes - pappardelle and tortellini - for our mains.

The asparagus comes with roasted beets and goat cheese.  The presentation was nice, but that was probably the best thing.  Salt was helpful on everything we had, and in general there just wasn't much flavor popping from this plate.  Shame on us for ordering asparagus out of season, I suppose, and thankfully if you put enough goat cheese on anything it can't be horrible (and they do give you a lot of goat cheese).

We ordered the pappardelle in part because it was house-made (only a couple of the pastas are), and it comes with Italian sausage the waitress said is from Findlay Market (I'd guess Kroeger & Son's, but can't say that for sure).  It was a "pasta e fagioli," which basically means that it's got beans in it, something that I would have liked to have known initially (I just Googled it) because, try as I might, I just am not that big of a fan of beans as a main component of dishes.  There were big cherry tomatoes that had been cooked with the sauce as well, and they were one of my favorite things.  The pasta was cooked well, and overall the dish was solid, but the flavors just did not pop at all for me.  I was hoping for more.

The tortellini was another "fresh" pasta option, and it was my preferred dish.  It was very creamy, as the menu noted, and had sundried tomatoes and basil.  The tortellini were filled with what I believe was ricotta cheese, but I didn't ask so can't be sure.  The pastas were delicate and the cheese sauce was very savory.  I'd say it was a couple notches above a good macaroni and cheese (the creamy cheese sauce reminded us of mac & cheese), but again, nothing special.

The Ingredients:  There is a quote prominently on the menu from the chef saying that they "never take shortcuts and import the finest products that Italy has to offer."  I wonder where they get their tomatoes?  Seriously though, nothing on the menu about local or organic ingredients.

The Story, Setting, & Service:  The space is quite nice - open, well put together, modern and sharp without being over-the-top.  Windows onto the square are a plus, except that when seated next to the window we were cold the entire meal.  I'm generally a warm person, so if you're a cold person, definitely ask for a table away from the glass.  Service was fine, nothing notably good or bad.

If you planned ahead and got a reservation outside or upstairs overlooking the square on a busy day, I think that could be pretty cool.  On this night, it didn't add much since it was dead - in large part due to the fact it was very chilly out.

The Last Bite:  I'm not sure what I'd order if I went back - maybe try the penne with bolognese, which the waitress said was good and there are some other good reviews about.  But, realistically, I don't think we'll go back.  There are plenty of places in the same price range where I'm confident I'll get a better meal, and while Fountain Square is an understandable draw - especially if you have someone in from out of town - it's just not my thing.  Disappointing but true, this was probably our only visit.

Via Vite on Urbanspoon


Epi-ventures said...

Sorry you had a bad experience! You should def try the bolognese next time ... it's crazy good.

Gavin DeVore Leonard said...

Epi-ventures - yeah, it was a bummer. Maybe we will head back for the bolognese, thanks for the tip!