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Ciao to All That

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Unless, perhaps, you’re a devout Daniel Boulud fan, it’s difficult to be disappointed with any of this food. But since Carmellini is a chef capable of all sorts of culinary pyrotechnics, it’s hard to get too excited, either. A Voce is a place where all the rough edges have been conspicuously smoothed away, where the tone emanating from the kitchen isn’t hard rock (Batali) or haute classical (Boulud) but low-wattage easy-listening jazz. Not surprisingly, the desserts are a mix of trendy Italian comfort items (glorified custard-stuffed doughnut holes called “bomboloni” folded in a linen napkin) and ancient favorites like panna cotta and tirami su updated in a slightly strained, postmodern way. The panna cotta was chocolate-flavored and covered with sweet cherries; the tirami su was rich and boozy and served in a big snifterlike glass, with thin shavings of chocolate on top. If I lived or worked within fifteen blocks of A Voce, I’d be ordering them every day. But there are plenty of accomplished Italian restaurants in the big city, and if I wasn’t in the neighborhood, I might not make the trip.


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