239 West Broadway, New York

Phone: 212-219-2777

It’s pretty impressive how much publicity Corton restaurant gets since its opening in 2008. The restaurant was mentioned on countless food related magazines/online magazines/blogs that the yaokuis has just got to try it out. Being the hottest restaurant in town, it was not easy to score a reservation. But we got one in the end, thanks to our friend Nan, who was checking on persistently! We found out later from Corton that it’s actually easier to get a reservation if you call them since there’s only limited number of reservations released to

Corton restaurant, the latest in a long line of successful restaurants from Drew Nieporent of the Myriad Restaurant Group, now occupies the location in Tribeca where Montrachet used to be. We have no doubt that Drew's latest trophy as James Beard Foundation's Outstanding Restaurateur was in some part due to the success of Corton. The restaurant's interior is chic and minimalist, a huge contrast to the flamboyant food which chef /owner Paul Liebrandt puts out. The Food is classic French with contemporary techniques and presentations, and the chef is definitely not afraid to experiment with flavors and spices. We tasted especially Asian spices such as curry (perhaps vandouvan) in some dishes and also some other unfamiliar spices that kept us guessing throughout dinner. His widely publicized use of spices such as the less familiar Sarawak peppercorn, shows his vast experience and knowledge.

There was six of us, and we all went for the 3 course prix fix menu (although Gan and I could really do the full tasting menu). We also ordered a bottle of 2004 Aloxe-Corton 1er Cru Les Valozieres; we just had to have some Corton wine, which the restaurant is named after.

The amuse bouche of foie gras with port Chantilly and cauliflower was amazingly flavorful and smooth, and it got all of us excited about what’s coming next. The Violet Hill farm egg appetizer was excellent, reminded me of a more luxurious version of soft boil egg, a humble peasant food. However, the Foie Gras with Hibiscus-Beet Gelée, Blood Orange although beautifully done, was not spectacular.

Gan went with the flavor of early spring for entree, and I had the Maine lobster with Parmesan Crumble, Burgundy Carrots, Balsamic Brown Butter. I think the word balsamic brown butter was the reason I picked the dish, and I was expecting a very flavorful and fragrant lobster dish. However, the balsamic brown butter didn't taste like what I had imagine, and the lobster dish did not impress me. Gan's flavor of early spring was quite an exciting dish - it came with Daurade, Yuzu Gelée, Peekytoe Crab, Green Mango Scallop, Rhubarb, Shaved White Asparagus Ocean Trout, Yogurt, Caviar. In Gan's opinion, the dish succeeded in evoking the sense of spring with the light flavors and refreshing seasonal ingredients. I think those of us who did not order the flavor of early spring dish were very envious of the multiple plates of food that Gan was getting!

I think the highlight for us was definitely the dessert. I especially love the Vacherin dessert with Meringue, Lychee, Earl Grey, Honeydew. It was plated to look like a snail and it was very refreshing! It was whimsical and definitely shows a great level of imagination. The use of meringue and fruits in dessert reminded us of Will Goldfarb's dessert; and upon checking with the waitress, we found out that the pastry chef Robert Truitt actually used to work at El Bulli and also Room4dessert (now closed) for Will Goldfarb.

One of the biggest attractions of Corton is definitely its chef, Paul Liebrandt. Whether Chef Paul Liebrandt likes it or not, he's one of the reasons why a lot of people eat at Corton. So it was such a surprise when the manager told us the chef does not want us to take pictures of him in the kitchen (or the kitchen). Perhaps the chef should embrace all the attention that comes with being the hottest chef in town, rather than being shy! He has lots of fans! And the attention is not going to die down anytime soon as the restaurant has accumulated quite an arsenal of accolades, from being nominated for James Beard's Best New Restaurant award to Frank Bruni's "The 10 Best New Restaurant of 2008".

Although the food we had that night was a hit and miss, it was abundantly clear to us that this is quite an exciting restaurant which is producing a more subtle brand of "new" French cuisine. It's less about the liquid nitrogen and more about the interesting unconventional spices which brings together quite interesting flavor. We're not entirely bought into the hype yet so the jury is still out for us on Corton.

chef Paul Liebrandt

bread with seaweed butter and sweet butter

2004 Aloxe-Corton 1er Cru Les Valozieres

Foie gras amuse bouche with port hantilly and cauliflower creme

Foie Gras - Hibiscus-Beet Gelée, Blood Orange

Violet Hill farm egg, bacalhao, baby squid, pheasant consomme

Flavors of Early Spring - Daurade, Yuzu Gelée, Peekytoe Crab, Green Mango Scallop, Rhubarb, Shaved White Asparagus Ocean Trout, Yogurt, Caviar

Elysian Fields Farm Lamb loin, braised neck, tamarind jus

Hamachi with Indonesian sweet sauce with parmesan crumbles

Morel mushroom with escargot

Maine Lobster - Parmesan Crumble, Burgundy Carrots, Balsamic Brown Butter

Side lobster with Parmesan crumbles

Dark Chocolate Fondant with Caramel, Yuzu, Olive Oil

Vacherin- Lychee, Earl Grey, Honeydew

petit four

Corton on Urbanspoon


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