Address: 45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY

Phone: 212-599-5045

It's hard not to talk about Convivio without mentioning L'impero and its former chef/partner Scott Conant (oh yea, check out his "coming soon" self-titled website), who now owns Scarpetta. Apparently, there were much disagreements between Scott Conant and his (former) business partner Chris Cannon at L'impero that the chef decided to leave L'impero for good. Right after Scott's abrupt departure, Michael White from Fiamma took over L'impero as chef and partner. But L'impero under Michael White, only managed to get Two stars from New York Times, which lead to the restaurant closing down in June 2008. But about one month later, the restaurant emerged with a new name, Convivio, a more lively and casual dining room interior, a new menu, and an awesome $59 four course prix-fix dinner, that quickly generated buzz around town and enlisted a bunch of loyal followers. There's enough material here to make up for an Italian Opera by Puccini or Verdi.

At Convivio, the food is Southern Italian cuisine with Mediteranean influence. The Menu is divided into Sfizi (tapas like dishes), Antipasti, Primi (pasta made in house), and Secondi (fish or meat) and the four course prix fix dinner comes with an Antipasti, a Primi, a Secondi and a dessert. For Antipasti, I recommend Quaglia, which is grilled quail skewer with pancetta and vin cotto and Vongole - clams with garlic, tomato and white wine. We've always thought of quail as a good test of a chef's skill as was the case when we had the same bird dish at the Spotted Pig and any other good Cantonese restaurants. For Primi, the Malloreddus or Sardinian saffron flavored gnochetti with crab and sea urchin seems to be the restaurant's most popular pasta dish. I also thought the Fusilli with pork shoulder ragu was really hearty and delicious.

The secondi comes with many exciting options such as Scottadito di Agnello (grilled lamb chops), Manzo alla Griglia (creekstone prime ribeye), Zuppa Trapanese (seafood in spicy tomato brodo), Branzino Nero (Seared black sea bass) etc. I ordered Zuppa Trapanese and really enjoyed it; but I thought the best dish of the night was definitely the Manzo alla Griglia that Gan ordered. The beef was succulent and goes well with hen of the woods mushroom (Maitake mushrooms).

Our friend Alf and Nan have been recommending Convivio for sometime, and we finally understand why they like this restaurant so much, and why this restaurant is listed as one of New York Magazine's Where to Eat 2009, and New York Times' Best 10 New Restaurant of 2008. This chef Michael White from Wisconsin can really cook up some impressive Italian dishes. I can't wait to check out his Northern Italian restaurant, Alto and soon to open Coastal Seafood restaurant, Marea!

Convivio dining room

Fried Cauliflower

Quaglia - grilled quail skewer, pancetta, vin cotto

Testa - pork terrine, honeycrisp apple mostarda, pane rustico

Vongole - clams, garlic, tomato, white wine

Malloreddus - sardinian saffron gnocchetti, crab, sea urchin

Stoccafisso -stoccafisso cod ravioli, sweet sausage, broccoli rabe

Fusilli - neopolitan pork shoulder ragu, cacciocavallo fonduta

Scottadito di Agnello - grilled lamb chops, salsa verde, escarole, tomato, beans

Branzino Nero - seared black sea bass, cuttlefish, garlic braised winter greens, cannellini bean puree

Zuppa Trapanese - scallops, prawns, mussels, spicy tomato brodo, fregola, fennel

Salsiccia d'Anatra - housemade duck sausage, green lentils, parsley, vin cotto

Manzo alla Griglia - 14oz creekstone prime ribeye, fried yukon gold potatoes grilled hen of the woods mushrooms, parmigiano

Affogato al Caffe - "super punch" amaro gelato, freshly-brewed espresso

Pineapple moose layered with pineapple pieces

Sorbetti e Gelati - a selection of freshly-spun sorbet & gelato

Apple Crostata - spiced apples, walnut crumble, caramel gelato

Formaggi - assortment of artisanal italian cheeses served with toasted with raisin walnut bread and fruit compote

Convivio on Urbanspoon


All said...

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