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“Centro Vinoteca”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out Italian West Village Moderate Great

We all have our escape mechanisms, things we do to get away from it all. For some it’s a yoga class, a run along the river, or a lazy stroll in the park under a canopy of trees. For others it’s a cold beer, a glass of wine (or something stronger) at the end of the day. Last week, I was in need of every escape route possible after seeing the movie, In the Valley of Elah. It is a powerful and heartbreaking film from director Paul Haggis that that gets you in the soft part of your gut and leaves you feeling very uncomfortable. On the one hand, it’s a thriller—the story of a man searching for his son’s killer. On the other, it’s the story of what the war in Iraq is doing to the young men and women—many who are really just kids drawn from the belly of our nation—serving over there. It is a quiet, introspective film that rests on the capable shoulders of Tommy Lee Jones, and its message is delivered slowly and deftly, almost in a whisper, as the story of this young soldier’s murder unfolds. I won’t spoil it for you, but I’ll say that it’s the kind of movie that finds its way inside you and sticks to your soul. It’s a film that left me with a feeling of stinging sadness, something akin to grief and hopelessness. Leaving the theater, and stepping into the hot sticky mid-summer night in the beginning of October didn’t help much. As Craig and I walked home and talked about the movie, all I could think was: our planet is dying, and our world is a disaster, how the hell are we gonna get out of this mess?So, as you can see, I was in need of just a little bit of an escape. And for me, one the greatest escapes comes in the form of a long meal shared with good friends. Lucky for me, Alison had a birthday dinner planned at Centro Vinoteca, chef Anne Burrell’s sexy new Italian restaurant. Never underestimate the power of good wine, food with soul, and several of your closest friends to take the weight of the world off your shoulders.The second project from Sasha Muniak and his son Alexei (Gusto), Centro Vinoteca is really two restaurants in one. On the main level, you’ll find a kitchen that opens to buzzing modern bar room decked out in black and white with roomy booths for large groups and more intimate tables for two crafted from smooth slabs of amber Indonesian Nadun wood. A cool low light comes from ornate crystal chandeliers that resemble crib mobiles for adults hung with st ... [more, click below]

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