I wish more restaurants had slogans. Like, “Minetta Tavern - All The Meat That’s Fit To Eat,” or “Carbone - No, You Can’t Have Dinner Here.” It would really help give you a feel for a place before you experience it firsthand. To that end, if Uva, a popular Italian restaurant on the Upper East Side had a slogan, it would definitely be, “Uva - Don’t Be A Hero.”
Why? Because whatever plan you are cooking up for a really impressive date night at a hot new restaurant is probably going to fail. You aren’t going to get a reservation with such short notice, and even if you could, the restaurant is probably going to be too loud, or not loud enough, or too expensive, or too romantic, or not romantic enough, or Jesus, why does this have to be so hard, we’re just having dinner?
Don’t be a hero. Just go to Uva.
Uva is that restaurant that you turn to for date night when all else seems impossible. It’s a rustic, cozy little Italian spot in the East 70s that’s always lively and always full of other people just like you - people just who want a solid meal in a nice environment with someone they’re sizing up for breed-ability. The food is good - not the best Italian in the city, but certainly satisfying, and also somewhat reasonably priced. The wine list is affordable and not intimidating, and the menu is big enough that pretty much anyone can find something that suits their needs. There’s even a nice garden in the back for a pleasant evening, or a daytime date if you really want to keep things PG. It is worth noting that when crowded, Uva can be a bit loud, and it’s also very dark. But unless you’re planning on giving some sort of presentation at the table, that shouldn’t be an issue.
What that all adds up to is that by going with Uva for your next date, you can focus on what’s really important, and that’s being as impressive as any human can possibly be. So maybe that’s your slogan. “Don’t dress like an idiot.”
Uva will handle the rest.
Uva always has a good selection of cured meats and cheeses, and we like to start a meal off here with a little bit of both. Pick what sounds good, but we typically go with some combination of taleggio, Pecora Nera, and about half a leg worth of prosciutto.
Just what you expect it to be. No more, no less. This is a safe place.
Our favorite salad from the Uva menu, this is basically a big pile of artichokes and arugula, and nobody has ever been mad about that.
A simple, tasty homemade ricotta sitting in a black truffle and chive sauce. It’s rich, but so are you, on the inside.
A solid cavatelli pasta made from scratch and tossed with some sausage. Proceed with confidence.
Looking for a whole wheat pasta? Here you go. This strozzapreti (a medium-sized, somewhat tubular noodle) is a simple dish, served with some fresh tomato and mozzarella. You’ll hardly know you’re eating somewhat healthier.
A cheese-stuffed chicken breast. Do you want this, or the other chicken dish that is pounded flat and served with a lemon wedge? That’s what we thought.
If you’re hitting Uva for brunch, you will be presented with a pretty good deal. $19.50 will get you an entree, a side, and a drink. It’s not full-on boozy brunch, but it’s a nice way to get some food and a little hair of the dog in your system on a Sunday afternoon.