20 March 2008

Accademia di Vino

1081 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10021

Being huge fans of ‘Cesca on the Upper West Side, we looked forward to dining at its Upper East Side family member, Accademia di Vino. The transformation of the former Chinese restaurant into an Italian wine bar on the ground level and a subterranean vaulted wine cellar as the main dining room has be outstanding. While not as warm and inviting as ‘Cesca, the design is clearly a strong point.

The menu has many current and former 'Cesca items, perhaps too many for the kitchen to do an excellent job on all of them. Sampling a number of dishes, while none were bad, our clear winners are the pasta dishes, each prepared to perfection. Nonetheless, none of the food here seemed as satisfying as the food served at ‘Cesca.

While to food was very good, just not up to 'Cesca standards, the wait service is another matter. Whereas at ‘Cesca the service always shines, here it barely exists. From rude front desk staff, incompetent waiters, to lost bus boys and runners, this clearly is the Accademie of un-trainable wait staff. In addition, the audio soundtrack seemed more suited for a Lower East Side bar than what tries to be taken as a serious Italian restaurant. So to us it is all about the limited skills, or lack thereof, by this restaurant’s management.

As note by its name, Accademia di Vino has an outstanding and comprehensive Italian wine list and cellar. The list includes many relatively unknown but outstanding wines priced at reasonable levels. Wine service unfortunately is as bad as the overall service.

Accademia di Vino - Acceptable

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