Thursday, May 5, 2011

Convivio [CLOSED]

If you have been following the food restaurant news for the last few months, you may have heard that Convivio (along with Alto) closed suddenly to the dismay of many fans. Chef Michael White used to head this wonderful restaurant. But his divorce from his restaurateur, Chris Cannon, left a split in the empire. Some places seemed to suffer while others flourished. Unknowingly, this was my last meal at my favorite of the White-Cannon babies: Convivio.

I dined with Yvo of the Feisty Foodie, along with CT and KC. In the past, the prix fixe included 4 course from any section of the menu. Yes, you could have 4 apps, 4 entrees, 4 sfizi, 2 primi or a mix of them. I can't remember if dessert was mandatory or not. However, I do remember being elated with this menu and had poured my praise about it to many friends. Unfortunately, on this final night, the waiter informed us that we must order and appetizer, a primi, an entree, and dessert. Sfizi would be extra. This completely bummed me out and also messed up our original orders. But we persevered hoping to be redeemed with wonderful food.

CT started with the octopus which she found tender and well cooked.

KC had the meatballs and mushrooms. The meatballs were tender and pretty flavorful.
I had the butternut squash soup with shrimp which was finished plating tableside. I am a sucker for such service. I though the soup was really thick and creamy and had tons of flavor.
Yvo had a serving of prosciutto and a cheese custard. I know she really enjoyed this and slowly ate the creamy cheese cracking the candied top ever so lightly. I also think she liked the prosicutto saying it was salty but paired well with the cheese.
We also ordered some potato croquettes to share. Well fried with a creamy cheese and potato filling, these just were okay.
For the primi course, KC had the carbonara pasta which actually came out almost as one long strand of fusilli pasta. I think she enjoyed the carbonara sauce which was rich and well seasoned.
CT had the pasta with crab and sea urchin. I think whenever she sees those ingredients in a dish, she jumps for it! Though I can't remember if she liked this or not, I know she finished it happily.
Yvo had oxtail ragu with pasta. Though I think she though it was okay and well cooked, I didn't hear any raves.
My course was the agnolotti filled with burrata cheese. Though I refused to share any, it wasn't perfect. The first bite was just lovely with the creamy cheese filled pasta. But as I ate through the dish, the cheese had hardened to almost a mozzarella texture. The dish lost its allure by the last bite. I wish I had shared. Karma, baby, karma.
CT had the pork tenderloin and I think she liked it. The pork was pink inside which actually kind of freaks me out. Not because I think it's gross but because it reminds me of food poisoning that I've had in the past due to undercooked pork. However, not my entree though. So CT happily ate it up.
KC had scallops which at first I thought she enjoyed. But as time went on, I could see that she felt the plate unfinished.
I couldn't help myself and ordered the veal chop. It was HUGE! Properly cooked to medium rare with a delicious cheese crust. I ate this up happily. It was good.
Yvo had lamb chops with salsa verde. She thought it was cooked just fine and tasted good.
For dessert, CT had a trio of sorbets. I think one was mango, another raspberry, and can't think of the third...maybe apricot. Of the 3, the mango was really good. Nice strong flavor without being overly sweet or tart.
KC had the chocolate torta which was really rich compared to our other desserts. But, chocolate never disappoints.
Yvo had the banana bombolini/doughnuts which were filled with mashed bananas. It also came with a dish of chocolate dipping sauce. I didn't try this because I was completely full and couldn't take anymore.
I forgot to take a picture of my own dessert which was a trio of sorbet. The flavors were: torrone, chocolate, and hazelnut (I think). I really enjoyed the torrone which is an Italian nougat usually spiked with almonds.

Overall, Convivio had many hits and misses. The general feeling was that the food was just okay. The service has definitely gone downhill since. But none of this matters because it's closed now. Sigh. I remember how wonderful this place used to be. It was my #1 place to recommend to people. Now, as my last meal is digested, I look back and think that this meal did it no justice.

45 Tudor City Place
New York, NY 10017
(212) 599-5045

1 comment:

  1. Too bad my first experience there was on the last night. I was incredibly disappointed in the overall experience, though the food was pretty good (Pasta could've used more urchin! and yes, i love those ingredients!!). But it all made sense once I heard about the closing.

    However, I like the food at Marea more, so I'm glad it's still open!!


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