Vucciria debuts a small selection of wine but a delicious crab cake appetizer on its opening preview night for critics. The new west side restaurant with the rising new star Chef Kristin Sollenne is inspired by southern Italy and the fresh food cultures of the California came to life last night on 45th Street and Ninth Avenue.

The new and attempting to be posh eatery with a supposed environmental and organic style opened to critics last night in Hell’s Kitchen.  The restaurant is off to a somewhat promising start with an above mediocre staff (raise those plates higher, ladies and gents!) and a tolerable wine list, of which top choices include the Talamonti Moda Montepulciano and the Vignale Pinot Grigio – this restaurant’s debut was a cut above the rest for its size and ambition in this tourist-targeting neighborhood.

One struggles to see their organic philosophy echoed in the restaurants pseudo 60s décor and energy use, but true to their chef’s vision, the crab cakes are noticeably fresh tasting and organic. These delectable treats are an exciting mix of crab meat, green herbs, bread crumbs, rosemary aïoli, and red onions that steal the show. Though an octopus appetizer failed to deliver, if the rest of the menu follows through, as did these cakes, then a patron is set for a scrumptious and successful evening.

This establishment is perhaps not intimate or fun enough for a first date, assuming you are looking for either or both. It crowds easy, has poor lighting that competes with sunset in the evening, and is light on general atmosphere. However, it is recommended for an affordable pre-show cocktail hour, a slightly upscale happy hour, or a quick stop between events on a stag night of fun behind the Great White Way.

– Darrel

635 9th Ave
(between 45th St & 46th St)
Manhattan, NY 10036