Fact: Deep-fried foods are bad for you. Fact: They are tasty. But not all deep-fried foods are created equal–or equally bad for you, anyway. On a scale of you-will-have-heart-attack-immediately to you-will-have-heart-attack-a-little-later, there’s no doubt that the deep-fried Oreo/Twinkie/Snickers contingent represents one end of the spectrum. But what about the other end?
No, not french fries. Enough with the french fries! There is more to the vegetable kingdom than potatoes, people. Like, for instance, the squash, eggplant, and zucchini that make up Fritto Misto di Vedura, a/k/a deep-fried mixed veggies.
New restaurant Aita in Clinton Hill serves a particularly beautiful and snackable version of this classic Italian dish. The chef could have callously chopped the vegetables into caveman-esque discs, coated them in thick batter, and fried them until they were alien-looking amorphous objects, but (praise to the fried-food gods) he didn’t.
Instead, the thinly sliced veggies arrive in a tangled heap so light, it appears to be sort of floating over the plate. One might even call it “sculptural,” if one was trying to feel better about eating a very large plate of fried things by themselves.
At first glance, it seems like each sliver has been arranged with tweezers and a magnifying glass like some sort of delicious Jenga tower, so don’t be surprised if your fellow diners gawk. Little do they know, this delicate high-end-lookin’ plate of veggie ribbons is really just salty, crunchy, deep-fried goodness.
The long, crisp spirals of vegetables go down easy. So easy, in fact, it’s hard not to imagine yourself eating them in front of the television while watching a football game and drinking beer. Or eating them by the ocean while burning in the sun, and drinking a beer. Or (carefully) eating them in bed after a particularly hard night, while watching Breaking Bad, and nursing a beer.
Basically, Fritto Misto di Vedura tastes great anywhere, while doing anything. It turns vegetables into a beer-pairable item. And, compared to its deep-fried counterparts (shout out to fried pickles, love you forever), it’s pretty much diet food. Or something like that.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 23, 2012