Via Verdi Opens in the Upper East Side: We Get a First Bite (Photos)

It's every chef's dream to own his or her own restaurant. Via Verdi has turned brothers Fabrizio and Nicola Carro and mixologist Cristiano Vezzoli's dream into a reality.

After leading the kitchen at Quattro Gastronomia for eight years, the twins decided it was time for something of their own. Although they're still involved with Quattro, Via Verdi is their new baby. "I'm here all day and then go to Quattro to oversee the kitchen," says Fabrizio Carro. "When I can't sleep I come make pasta."

Via Verdi has taken over the space once inhabited by Uva 69 in the Upper East Side. Check out pictures of dinner and drinks of the new restaurant after the jump.

See also: Via Verdi Cucina Rustica: Rustic Italian Comes to Upper Eastside

We visited two weeks after Via Verdi first opened its doors, and the place was slammed. The outside bar was filled with people sipping on cocktails like Nutella martinis and nibbling on small plates for $5 each or five for $23.

Outdoor dining is another option. At Via Verdi, the décor is contemporary rustic with marble tables and electric blue lighting. Inside, the hue is warmer and the look resembles a cottage in South Italy. If you're lucky, you might get the table for two in the wine cellar -- it's utterly romantic.

The wood floor creeks as Fabrizio makes his way from table to table tending to his guests, while Nicola is in the kitchen. It's a family kind of place, so it's great talking to the chef and asking him for recommendations.

We started off with basic Italian assaggi -- prosciutto and a Gorgonzola mousse blended with mascarpone ($5). Other options include speck, olives, ricotta, pecorino, pancetta, or salami.

Arancini -- crispy rice balls stuffed with peas and mozzarella -- were fried and served with marinara sauce. If fried food isn't your thing, you can also order bruschetta, polenta, or rusa (Italian potato salad).

Tonnato di vitello ($13) combined thinly sliced veal with a tuna mayo sauce. The dish is from Piedmont and is a popular antipasto in Italy.

Pasta is made fresh daily by the chef. The rabaton al forno ($14) coupled spinach and ricotta in a gnudi, which are gnocchi-like pasta dumplings. These tender dumplings were submerged in burrata and tomato and then baked.

For something heartier, try the agnolot ($15). Short rib is braised for five hours and then stuffed into raviolis topped with a butter and sage sauce.

For dessert, we ordered a nocciolata ($6), a hazelnut cake.

We were also served a panna cotta with a mango gelée, compliments of the house.

"This is one of the desserts mom helped with," our server told us.

During our visit, the Carro's mother happened to be in town visiting. On her last day, she did what any Italian mom would do -- lend a hand in the kitchen. "She taught us how to cook," Nicola said.

Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha

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