Vivace is a trendy-looking Italian place nestled under swanky apartments in Raleigh. It has a very cool looking bar I'd love to hang out in sometime and a rather impressive wine list, which I also have yet to try. This isn't shaping up to be a very informative review yet, I'll try to get to the good stuff. What I have tried are countless salmon, hanger steak, duck, scallop, veal, lamb and pork dishes. I've tried panna cottas, semi-fredos, tiramisus fried olives, gnocchi and I've loved it all. There is no dish that I haven't enjoyed although there are some that stand out more than others.
The menu changes seasonally which is both good and bad. The good is the ever expanding variety, the ability to fall in love with something new and wonderful every time I go. The bad is the realty that I will get my heard broken by the absence of a favorite dish. For the last year when we've gone to Vivace we've ordered the gnocchi with apricots, pancetta and kale, if memory serves me. It was a treat, sweet, salty, chewy and crisp all at once, it was quite simply a dish worth dreaming about. It was absent from the menu this time. There was a gnocchi dish but it wasn't THE gnocchi so we didn't order it.
Which turned out to be just fine. I ordered the bone-in pork chop with brussel sprouts, pancetta over polenta with a cider reduction. It was perfection. The pork was crispy with just the right amount of fat and the polenta was smokey and sweet all at the same time.
I hope I'll be able o make it back up there before the menu changes again, but if I don't at least I have faith in the chef I almost sort of know to keep me coming back, no matter how much the menu changes,