At Vitae, we seek to provide the best of the basic elements that make a restaurant great, but which are sometimes taken for granted: great food and drink with genuine hospitality. We built Vitae so that we could supply midtown Manhattan with a refined but approachable restaurant for business lunches, after work drinks and gratifying dinners. We are committed to finding the best ingredients available from New York City’s finest purveyors, to pouring quality wines from all over the world, to offering an inventive cocktail list that perfects old favorites while experimenting with new and exciting flavor combinations. We will be here for you when you need us!
Chef Bellanco first became interested in cooking as a boy helping his Italian grandmother cook secret family recipes. Growing up outside of Cleveland, Edwin developed his love of food by working in the kitchens of various local restaurants throughout his high school and college years. After college, Edwin decided to turn his passion into a career and moved to New York to begin cooking earnestly.
Edwin was fortunate enough to land his first job in New York at the rising star Gramercy Tavern in 1995. He soon developed an appreciation for Chef/Owner Tom Coliccio's philosophy of using fresh and local ingredients to create simple, delicious food. Also during this time, Edwin joined Marco Canora as Sous Chef at La Cucina on Martha's Vineyard for two seasons. La Cucina became very successful and gave Edwin the opportunity to cook for many celebrities, including then-President Clinton, catering his birthday party. A summer later, he spent the season working in pastries with Chef Michael Brisson at L'Etoille on Martha's Vineyard. In 1998, Edwin moved back to Cleveland as the Executive Sous Chef at Moxie, an acclaimed Cleveland restaurant.
Two years later, Edwin's adopted hometown New York called him back. He accepted a cooking position at the much-celebrated Chef David Bouley's Danube. Under Chef Bouley, Edwin focused on new cooking techniques, including low-temperature cooking and sous-vide. After a short time at Danube, Edwin was promoted to Sous Chef and eventually became Sous Chef at the chef’s marquis restaurant, Bouley.
Post the Bouley years, Edwin moved to Napa Valley for a stint at Thomas Keller's renowned French Laundry, where he experienced West Coast haute-cuisine. He then came back to New York and joined Chef Shea Gallante as Sous Chef for the opening of the three-star restaurant Cru.
In 2005, Edwin joined Morrell Wine Bar and Café as Executive Chef, drawn to its award-winning wine list and memorable location in Rockefeller Center. This was a time of great immersion in the wine world and was a valuable experience that allowed him to develop a deep understanding of the many ways in which wines pair with food. Simple, clean flavors became his mantra as a chef.
With Vitae, Chef Bellanco, who resides with his wife and daughter in New York, is taking his eighteen years of experience with food and wine and offering it now in his own vision.
Emily moved to New York City six years ago to begin her career in the restaurant industry after an uninspiring spell in several Texas law offices. Having a passion for cooking, but no professional experience at all, she enrolled in the Classic Culinary Arts program at the French Culinary Institute in SoHo, hoping it would open doors.
The first memorable meal in her new city was at Marco Canora & Paul Greico’s Hearth in the East Village. Emily was affected by the warm hospitality from the owners and blown away by the delicious food. She knew after that dinner that this was the type of restaurant with which she wanted to be associated. So, as a new graduate with still with no clue about what it took to be a cook in a professional environment, she showed up at Chef Canora’s kitchen and asked for a job.
After a year in Hearth’s kitchen, Emily decided to try her hand in the dining room. As she was fortunate to learn in the kitchen from Chef Canora, she was equally blessed by having Paul Grieco as an instructor in the front of house. She was an overzealous busboy at Hearth for just a few months before being promoted to server.
She spent the next several years at some of the best restaurants in New York City, honing skills in service, hospitality and wine at per se, Insieme, del Posto and, most recently, as an opening staff member of Lincoln.
"Rock shrimp risotto had proper granular-creamy tension. Endearingly bite-size pulled-pork tacos filled with polenta tuille and tomato marmalade laughed at the bar-snack version. Bigeye tuna tartare pampered our tongues with its sensuous, warm consistency."
"Piscine risotto is a real test of a kitchen, and Chef Bellanco created a seamless wave of seafood out of the dish’s opposing forces. The risotto was my favorite dish of the night."
"…I want more of the lush, creamy chowderlike sauce surrounding the fish, smoked razor clams and fingerlings. It’s richly layered with cream, sweet from carrots and onion, salty from the clam liquor. Give me a pool…"
"…destination-worthy eats from a chef who's worked in the country's best kitchens."
"Bellanco proves himself one of those chefs who give New York its mass quantity of pros who have learned everything from the masters and have gone on to be masters themselves. He's a guy you've got to keep your eye on."
"The menu hits all points and includes pastas, salads, seafood and a steak…ricotta gnudi with chorizo was tasty, as was a beet salad."
"There’s not a single thing on the menu—not one blessed thing—that will look unfamiliar to anyone who dines out frequently in Manhattan. The chef can therefore offer only one thing, excellence, which (at this price point) he absolutely does."
"It's time to start doing dinner right."
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Vitae offers an exceptional private dining space for any occasion. Overlooking the main dining room, the second story mezzanine provides a chic and trendy way to entertain.
From Cocktail receptions to fully coursed lunch and dinners, it is the perfect place to host a party. The Mezzanine can accommodate up to 40 people for a cocktail party and up to 30 people for a private lunch or dinner. The entire restaurant is also available for private functions.
Chef Edwin Bellanco and his culinary and hospitality team are pleased to offer offsite catering options for all of your personal and business entertaining needs. We plan small functions such as 10 guests to larger functions of 400 guests. Using Vitae's inspired menu items and strong focus on hospitality our catering coordinator will work with you to tailor your event and execute your desired vision.
For more information please contact Lesley Malorni at (212) 682-3562 or firstname.lastname@example.org.