Monday, February 7, 2011

Wintry Dinner at Convivio

On Saturday, I headed up to Tudor City for a nice early V-day dinner with Rob. I hadn't been up to my favorite elevated midtown oasis in months, so the walk up the steps and past the park was an extra enjoyable little trek. It's so hushed and quiet and dark and snowy, a hazy view of Brooklyn beyond the East River. And then into loud Convivio, lots of old men in suits, cramped tables, low lighting and beautiful Southern Italian food.

Even if we weren't being treated with the best Christmas present ever (thanks, Greg & 80!), we probably still would have gone with the $64 four course prix fixe. It gets you an antipasti, a primi (pasta), a segundi (pesci or carni) and a dessert. It was the perfect amount of food, plus it gave us a little room to explore the wine list (I had a Prosecco di Conegliano and later, a dessert wine from Cyprus.)

Everything we tried was stellar and expertly cooked. The only complaint I have is that most accompaniments were plain and (I thought) the dishes would be much better off without. Like the duck sausage antipasti with grilled endive. Scrap the endive, and give me 18 more duck sausages! It was so delicate and flavorful and perfect. The endive was just kinda... there.

Rob had the amazingly beautiful yellowtail crudo with blood oranges and olives. The fish melted in your mouth, and the orange/olives gave it a nice sweet/salty balance. This is maybe the one exception where the accompaniments really helped the dish shine.

Rob's primi was the gnochetti with crab and sea urchin I had this spring (it's still amazing), but my tuna belly raviolios blew it out of the water. There's something special about homemade ravioli when its eggy and tender, even before its stuffed with perfectly moistened bits of tuna. The sauce was used so sparingly I have no idea what it could be, but it was so rich and lemony and flavorful. I bet it would make a good soup. I even loved the capers in this dish.

We shared the next course evenly... although I was tempted not to share my second lamb chop! So meaty and fatty with a fantastic salsa verde and breadcrumb topping. It sounds heavy, but it was really super light and delicate. An expertly crafted dish, though I could have done without the tomato and cannelli beans (zzz). The scallops were really well cooked and surprisingly a lot denser than the lamb. This could have used a sauce in place of the oily pepper strips, though.

Dessert was amazing. Rob had the meyer lemon tartaletta with huckleberry compote and coconut gelato. Very heavy on the lemon with nice accents of tropical fruit. I absolutely loved my zuppa di cioccolato, a very dense mint bergamot semifreddo with a hot chocolate soup poured tableside. It was like a subtly flavored mint chocolate chip sundae that started extra frozen and got even better as it got meltier.

This was my favorite meal in a long time. I already can't wait to go back and try the arancini, the fusilli with pork shoulder, the oxtail ragu. Maybe my next four-course meal at Convivio? I'll be very happy finishing with the semifreddo zuppa again.

45 Tudor City Place

1 comment:

Alice said...

oooh, oxtail ragu? sign me up.

that lamb sounds great and i'm not typically a huge fan.