Few things are more Americana than a neighbor popping over with food to welcome you to the neighborhood. Ironically, the neighbor that did that for me during my recent move hails from Italy. Via Emilia 9 is a regional Italian restaurant specializing in homemade pastas and dishes traditional to the Emilia region in northern Italy. Last week, amidst a flurry of boxes, dust, and other moving chaos, they treated me to dinner at their intimate 15th Street digs. The simple yet undeniably delicious meal restored my energy and lifted my spirits during a really tumultuous time, starting my new chapter along West Avenue on a positive note.
I spent most of last week transporting five-years worth of "stuff" between the South of Fifth apartment and my new apartment. Particularly during the weekend, when South Beach was packed, I was forced to take different routes to avoid traffic. Several trips took me westbound on 15th Street by Via Emilia 9. I've never seen that place before. I wonder if it's good, I thought each time I drove past. As luck would have it, I had an invitation to stop by patiently waiting in my inbox a few days later.
My first impression when I arrived for dinner is that it is dark and cozy, perfect for a romantic date. The ambiance was reminiscent of the scene where Bella Swan and Edward Cullen shared their first dinner date in Twilight. (Yes, I did just make a Twilight reference. Sue me.) The menu is absolute heaven. Turns out, parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar, and prosciutto—three of my all-time favorite flavors—are the gastronomic trinity of the Emilia table. The dishes are genius combinations of these three flavors, each made with imported Italian ingredients ("except the flour, eggs and vegetables," clarified our server Valentina).
The evening kicked off with the Parmigiana and a decadent selection of prosciutto di Parma, parmesano and dried figs, both expertly paired by Valentina with a glass of Italian wine. Next, I enjoyed the tortellini in brodo, a Northern Italian classic comprised of tortellini stuffed with mortadella, pork, paremesano, and prosciutto in a light broth. The dish was surprisingly filling, but I expertly worked my way through two pastas to round out the meal: tagliatelle al prosciutto di Parma and tagliatelle ragú. I loved each course in its own right. Standouts of the night were the Parmigiana, the tortellini in brodo, and the tagliatelle al prosciutto di Parma.
I am so grateful to my new neighbor for the warm welcome. This hidden gem is going on the top of my new neighborhood go-to spots. For the record, while I will definitely be back for dinner, you're most likely to find me at Via Emilia 9 during their daily happy hour (4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.) for 50% off wine bottles and selections of cured meats and cheeses. Because if living off of wine and charcuterie alone is wrong, I don't want to be right...