Recently, with more frequency than usual, I have been eating my feelings. At AYZA, you may find your feelings more delicious than usual.
To be truthful, this wine bar didn’t seem to stand out as anything special. Indeed, sitting outside, we were placed next to a table of six women clearly embracing the use of their outside voice. The heated lamps helped with the increasingly nippy weather, but if you’re looking for an intimate setting with more space between you and the next diners, this might not be for you.
The waitress was also a far cry from a sommelier. I was approved for an ice wine, fondue double whammy of sugar. When asked if it would be too sweet, I was given a noncommittal answer. The answer is most definitely yes, it’s saccharine.
There are of course redeeming factors. The steak and pasta were surprisingly good for a restaurant that was clearly banking on its wine license to earn its keep. The pasta was simplistic, but pleasantly flavorful. The steak medallions were also no disappointment, quite juicy in fact.
Of course, the main attraction are the desserts. The chocolate molten cake was fantastic–but given the impossibility of screwing up molten chocolate, perhaps that fails to be indicative of anything. I imagine one could overdo it and dry out the gooey, luscious center, but not this one.
The fondue is a feast for the eyes. You are the envy of everyone still working on their entrees. The little cauldron of chocolate is accompanied by most things you might dream of drenching in chocolate. However, I would have liked to see some culinary cajones in reinventing the chocolate fondue. Strawberries and bananas are proven greats, but combinations we could easily replicate. Excite us.
AYZA is looking to expand. I would encourage it to consider doing more than capitalizing on a concept that works. Wine, chocolate, and girls’ nights out will always keep a place alive, but in this town, AYZA should hold itself to a higher standard.
What does this rating mean?
AYZA Wine and Chocolate Bar Midtown
11 W 31st Street
New York City, NY 10001
AYZA Wine and Chocolate Bar West Village
One South 7th Avenue
New York, NY 10014