By Jeff Gordinier, November 26, 2014
A few weeks ago, when I first stepped into Via Carota, the forthcoming restaurant from Jody Williams and Rita Sodi in New York’s West Village, the two chef-entrepreneurs were taking care of a very important task: They were arranging bottles of amaro on the shelves behind the bar. “We’re hands-on,” Williams told me.
As we explore in “Italian, a Love Story” in T’s Holiday Issue, the couple’s granular attention to detail (with décor, with ingredients, with the impossible-to-replicate mood of a place) is a crucial reason why their previous and relatively recent ventures in the neighborhood (Buvette and I Sodi) trick you into thinking they’ve been woven into the tapestry of downtown Manhattan for decades.
Such mindfulness is evident in the way they’ve selected each one of the Italian liqueurs that they’re putting on display on Via Carota, the first restaurant at which they’ll be cooking in tandem. Ideally, as in Italy, a repast at this Grove Street gastroteca will move toward a gracious liquid finale: Whether gentle or bracing, lightly honeyed or sharply bitter, a customary glass of amaro should “soothe the stomach and the soul” at the end of the feast, Williams said, providing a “unique punctuation to the evening.” (Or as the author and connoisseur Jason Tesauro explained it to me the other day: “After a decadent meal, amaro is like Harvey Keitel in ‘Pulp Fiction.’ It’s the cleaner that wipes away any evidence that you overdid it.”)