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 "lets 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.
Crab Cakes with Capers, Mushrooms
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.Warm Goat Cheese in Tomato Sauce
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 also sort of just brought it over. Good thing he did. Its really just a mound of goat cheese in tomato sauce, but when you mix that sh*t together and put it on some bread...I don't know what happens but it ended up all over my face like a two year old that got a hold of some SpaghettiO's. So good.Linguine with Clams
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.Tiramisu
We've heard that this is some of the best tiramisu that you can find anywhere, but I wouldn't really know. There's something about an Italian dessert with a Japanese sounding name that I don't trust.
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 suck very bad. The pasta tasted more like Chinese egg noodles than it did Italian, and the bolognese was chunky and kind of tough. No thanks.