When searching for authentic Italian cuisine featuring excellent dishes paired with fine wines, Aroma Kitchen & Winebar consistently impresses for ability to provide flair and elegance in such an intimate and tiny dining room. With its tranquil atmosphere and attentive service, Aroma succeeds in serving authentic Italian cuisine, exceeding that of nearby competitors Frankie's 17 Spuntino
A small platter of Italian cured meats as well as baked stuffed calamari with almond, shrimp, capers, fennel and parsley are terrific ways to begin your meal, though the gratin of gnocchi, sausage, fontina, and pesto nutmeg béchamel surely exceeds the other appetizers on offer. In addition, do not overlook the intriguing salads, both the rocket, pecorino, bresaola, pickled red onion and lemon vinaigrette as well as the baby spinach with goat cheese. Highly recommended are three hearty main dishes, a lamb chop with mint pesto, cannellini beans, sun-dried tomato, and capers; braised veal shoulder "spezzatino" with ricotta cavatelli, ham, and panna; and Sicilian meatloaf with herbed polenta, cipolline onion, red pepper pesto, mascarpone. Recommended desserts are sicilian pistachio crème brûlée, a warm almond chocolate cake with brandied morello cherries and zabaglione cream as well as a fine plate of traditional Italian cheeses with poached dried fruits. The list of over 120 wines nicely augment this regional Italian cuisine, and it should be noted Aroma features a prix fixe menu with three courses for $25 on Sundays, along with classical guitar accompaniment.
We might compare the fair number small restaurants at which we dined in the past year: Although a number of these restaurants kept us waiting despite our always arriving punctually, here manager Alexandra DeGiorgio took unusual and sincere effort in repeatedly expressing her sorrow at our having to wait 15 minutes for the table. Very few managers take such pains—in fact, restaurants' general indifference at keeping patrons waiting underscores Aroma's commitment to its guests. Alexandra declares on the restaurant's website: "My career allowed me to hone my management skills and ensure the utmost client satisfaction." Were this only true at more New York establishments!
Finally, do note Aroma's private lower-lever dining room featuring stone, wood and glass elements. With dimly-lit chandeliers and highlighted by votive candles, the communal wood table of dark mahogany creates a charming atmosphere. As this private dining room is reached via a narrow staircase and winding catacombs, the journey seems rather uniquely northern Italian—perhaps reminiscent of Venice. We find Aroma an ideal location both for intimate dinners as well as private events, and note that multi-course holiday meals such as at Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve feature creative and delightful menu options.