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October 7th,
written by Arthur

The following is adapted from a restaurant review first publish in the Cardozo Jurist.

Let me start by saying that I don’t like writing negative reviews.  They seem kind of boring.  I would much rather write article about places that are great to eat at.  But these were some new places I had high hopes for and well I felt the need to talk about them falling shorty.

Over the last summer two new restaurants have sprung up near Cardozo, my fine law school, on the corner of University and 13th Street: Vapiano, a stylish pizza and pasta bar and its next door neighbor Nanoosh, a sleek Mediterranean hummus bar. After eating at each a few times, my mind settled on a number of words that describe the food at each restaurant: adequate, all right, fine, and OK. My issue is that both restaurants are chains that put fashion above substance and quality.

Vapiano occupies a large space and sports a modern design and lounge-like feel. It has a novel payment system where you are given a card when you walk in. You swipe the card when you get food at cafeteria-style stations, and the card records your purchases. Upon leaving, you give your card back to the hostess or cashier at the door, and you’re given the total bill to pay.

Ordering my first pizza at Vapiano, I had high hopes. The pizzaiolo (Italian for the guy that cooks the pizza) makes the pizza in front of you and puts it in the oven. The pizza even looked great once it was on my plate. But the problem was in the crust; it just didn’t have the crispy, almost burnt crust an Italian style pizza should have. It made a fine flatbread, but an uninspired pizza. The other pizzas I tried during that visit and subsequent visits shared the same crust failures.

After trying the pizza, I turned my attention to the pasta bar. I ordered the Pesto e Spinaci pasta. Given the name, I was expecting a fresh pesto dish with spinach. What I got, however, was an overly creamy, heavy dish that had a hint of pesto. Not a bad dish, but not up to the potential of the fresh ingredients the server at the pasta bar had at his disposal.

Nanoosh is a smaller space that has a chic atmosphere and décor that reminds me of a spa. The menu is, not surprisingly, heavy on the hummus but also has Mediterranean influenced salads and wraps. The hummus comes in either plain or tahini (sesame seed paste) and can be ordered with a few toppings. The hummus’ flavor was par for the course, but the texture was too smooth—overly creamy. The Lebane wrap was a solid combination of Mediterranean salad with a bit of cheese.

In all, I may have gone into both restaurants with excessive expectations. Both offer fine food at a decent value. I won’t avoid going back to these places, but I won’t go out of my way to return to them, either.


113 University Place (at 13th Street)
New York, NY, 10003

111 University Place (between 12th & 13th Streets)
New York, NY 10003

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