Vapiano | Greenwich Village, Manhattan, NY

It’s difficult to find time to have fun when one works in the city but lives in the burbs. My commute often takes me an hour to get home, door to door, and since we moved out there, hanging out in the city is tougher than ever.

Good news is this! I met up with a good friend of mine from college at Vapiano for dinner and it was poppin’!

There are two levels — try out the second floor. It’s a nice view of the whole restaurant.

My brother has also brought his wife here for a Date Night and he says he like’s how romantic it is. That’s up to you to determine though so make sure you pay the restaurant a visit.

What it’s Like Inside

The environment, ambiance, and of course, the food was outstanding. I’ve been to Vapiano for lunch and it’s a calm and relaxing environment to go to in the middle of the day. In fact, you almost feel like you’re transported into Europe, it’s just that calm. At night? It’s a completely different place. People are dressed to the nines, music is hoppin’ and, the lights are dim. This restaurant basically turns into a club… with awesome food! It also reminded me of Italy at night.

If there’s one spot on University (University Place is the street it’s on), has everyone enjoying life… it has got to be Vapiano.

The tables and the seating formation don’t change from lunch to dinner, so it’s easier to navigate having been there during the day. The seating is interesting — long tables that allow you to sit with people . They’ve chosen this formation intentionally to promote an environment that allows you to sit next to other people, almost directly next to people, which could spark conversation amongst different groups of people. Some people love this, and some people, like Naren, like to eat and enjoy just with whomever he is with at the time.

How to Order

The format for ordering isn’t the usual. When you enter, you’re handed a smart-card, as the Vapianisti call it — basically, a charge card. (Heads up — Vapiano calls their employees Vapianisti and I think it’s awesome.) There are stations in the back of the restaurant where you’ll be able to order your dish. After ordering your dish, the chef making your dishes asks for your card, where he’ll load up your order. When you’re done with the meal, you go to the cashier, present your card and then from there, pay for your check.

Pizza, salad, apps and pasta are ordered from the chefs at the stations in the back of the restaurant. Each dish is prepared to order, right in front of you while you’re standing there. You can customize your meal in any which way you’d like — it’s awesome! I did that during this visit. I asked my brother what his favorite dish from Vapiano was… and I ordered it!

For drinks, you’ve gotta tell the chef that you want a fountain drink or a large bottle of water. They’ll give you a glass and direct you to the soda fountain to the right of the stations.

The Food:

Pappardelle and Crema di Funghi with Beef | cream sauce, mushroom mix, beef

[caption id=”attachment_15328" align=”aligncenter” width=”680"]

Pappardelle and Crema di Funghi with Beef | cream sauce, mushroom mix[/caption]

This is what I ordered and it was yummy!

In case you’re wondering, Pappardelle is a large and flat pasta noodle, at about two centimeters wide. To put it into perspective, it’s wider than fettuccini but much more narrow than lasagna. The edges are even curvy (or fluted) like lasagna too. The name is pretty cute because it’s derived from the Italian verb pappare which means to gobble up! Makes sense because I gobbled this dish all up.

Pappardelle and Crema di Funghi with Beef | cream sauce, mushroom mix

The crema di funghi was rich in flavor but was not too thick to become overwhelming. The mushrooms were fresh, cooked right in front of me, and over all, the dish was seasoned to perfection. The grated Parmesan as a finishing touch brought a nuttiness to the dish and also added another layer of saltiness that was refreshing.

Last but not the least, I asked the chef to add beef to the dish. Tender cubes of beef, nicely cooked to medium, were perfect with every bite. So much umami in this dish, now that i think about it.

Final thoughts

Give it a shot when you’re there! Don’t be afraid to customize the dish in any way you’d like. Ask for more herbs, mushrooms, some chicken to go with the beef. Go all out… because it’s all fresh… and yummy.

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