restaurants
Vai Spuntino
105 Thompson Street
212 226 1146

The pint-sized Vai Spuntino from chef/owner Vincent Cherico (former right-hand man to Daniel Boulud, Marcus Samuelsson, Jean Georges etc) and chef de cuisine Gregory Torrech (Allen & Delancey) is for those who like to be in the hand of the chef. The house signature crudo, a hamachi/tuna duo with preserved ginger, a super creamy spring ramp pappardelle or the truffle-happy burrata ravioli with shitake mushrooms are all lovingly prepared in this tiny spot's petite kitchen. If you ever thought you couldn't cook in a Manhattan box-sided space, these chefs prove you wrong. As though it's his own kitchen, an Alaskan king crab is done with Cherico's family recipe for chili-salmoriglio sauce and a brown butter. And the spot even does brunch, with a revolving menu featuring such fun things as an open-faced Croque Signore, comprised of crispy speck prosciutto, fried egg and melted brie. Word to the wise though, if you have a lot of allergies or are fussy about food, this spot might not be the place for you. Just as an artist can only shift so much on a tiny canvas; there's only so many ingredients they can stock in that square footage!

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