There really shouldn’t be much need for us to give you suggestions on good date night spots in the West Village. The whole neighborhood is full of “cute” restaurants, nearly all of which are Perfect For increasing your odds of gettin’ some action (or finding your soul mate or whatever). But there are different destinations for different situations, and Aria serves a certain purpose. This is the wine bar you want if you want things to get handsy.
What we mean by that is that this place has “let's meet for drinks and then drink too much and then make out on the street” written all over it. Aria is a picture perfect, cozy little room, ideal for a first date experience. You can sit and have a few glasses of wine while you get to know each other, and assuming things are going well enough to turn drinks into dinner, the Italian small plates here are very, very good. But what makes Aria particularly Perfect For Drunk Hook Ups is the fact that they also have a full bar and are constantly bumping some sort of Euro party music playlist. The next thing you know, you’ve followed four glasses of Barolo with three shots of tequila, and you’re not so much sitting in your stool as you are half-standing and trying to rub your crotch on Prince Charming’s leg. We stopped in for some food on a recent Saturday night, and a couple next to us was getting down after a bottle of wine and some tiramisu. And this was at like, 8pm. I’m afraid to see what happens in this place after eleven.
Don’t come to Aria and not order the meatballs. These guys are all beef, simple and excellent. And the tomato sauce they sit in is pretty much perfect.
Avoid the pastas at Aria at all costs. This tagliatelle with veal bolognese sucked. The pasta tasted more like Chinese egg noodles than it did Italian, and the bolognese was chunky and kind of tough. No thanks.
Another must order at Aria. We couldn’t believe how much we like this crab cake dish. I was sure it was going to be salty and unimpressive, but it might be the best thing we’ve had here.
Our waiter recommended this one, but he also recommended pretty much everything on the menu. We ended up with this dish because he sort of insisted on it, and he also sort of just brought it over. Good thing he did. It's really just a mound of goat cheese in tomato sauce, but when I mixed that sh*t together and put it on some bread it ended up all over my face like a two-year-old that got ahold of some SpaghettiO’s. So good.
Not the unmitigated disaster that the tagliatelle was, but this linguine wasn’t very impressive, either. Stick to the small plates at Aria, and you’ll be happy. Stay far, far away from the pastas.
We’ve heard that this is some of the best tiramisu that you can find anywhere, but we wouldn’t really know. There’s something about an Italian dessert with a Japanese-sounding name that we don’t trust.