The poster child of Alexandra and Vito is a cute little place called Aroma Kitchen & Winebar in New York City’s lower East Side. Italian in every way, the place exudes tastes and ambiance from the Mediterranean where they both grew up. They opened Aroma in March 2005 and it has been a success ever since. They also have an Aperitivo (Italian for “happy hour”) from 5 pm to 6:30 every day for a ritual of savory bites and light drinks with a flight of 3 wines and antipasti for $15 and 50% off selected wines.
I discovered it by accident when I was walking through the lower East Side with a friend of mine, so it was hit or miss when we walked in, since we hadn’t a recommendation or a reservation. It was delicious and the service was top notch.
On the list and worth ordering are the piatti piccini, warm beets, gorgonzola, fig jam, walnuts and a warm beet dressing, grilled Portuguese octopus, corona beans and green oil, meatballs, neapolitan ragu’ and smoked scamorza, sautéed cockles & mussels in fennel broth and garlic crostoni, beet-cured coho salmon carpaccio, deviled egg and sracciatella or some of their salads like the spring greens caesar salad, poached farm egg with a warm burrata, rocket, string beans, toasted walnuts, pecorino sardo served with a lemon vinaigrette or the gnudi, swiss chard & ricotta, nutmeg and a cherry tomato sauce.
Italian pasta dishes include black linguine, poached white shrimp, squid, cherry tomatoes and lobster broth, strascinati, wild mushroom soffritto, spicy lamb sausage, roasted red peppers and moliterno, linguine, New Zealand wild cockles “al cartoccio”, orecchiette ortolana, broccolini, cream of asparagus served with shiitake and pine nuts, lobster ravioli, saffron crema and rock shrimp or the gnocchi with pesto “alla ligure”, red bliss, haricot vert and parmigiano cestino.
There’s also a cast-iron oven-roasted branzino, bouquet of herbs & roasted verdure, New Bedford sea scallops wrapped in guanciale, ragu’ verde and spinach & chickpea, rosemary roasted spring chicken, Sicilian caponata, peas & smoked bacon, dry aged Angus strip steak, sautéed baby kale & capicollo and herb fried potatoes.