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Convivio


Nathan
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The revamped L'Impero in Tudor City.

Stopped in last night with a friend.

Restrained, elegant decor. Mostly older crowd (i.e. we were the youngest people in the room by far until spotting a large table of young-uns near the bar as we were leaving).

Service was very good. After taking our order she noticed that some of our dishes replicated the $59 pre fixe and recommended that she convert half of our order into it (thus essentially ending up with a free dessert). Nice touch. More polished than you usually see at restaurants of this price point.

wine list by the glass is excellent...some funky southern Italian choices.

bread service was fine.

began with three sfizi: carciofi and the like. some whelks served in a nice broth. all good.

then had the piedini di maiale...not a difficult dish to find these day's (pig's feet and beans) but well-prepared.

primi were oriechette with pork shoulder ragu and malloredous with sea urchin and crab. I can't recall seeing malloredous (sort of a gnudi) on a NY menu before...though I had it a couple months ago at Sardinia in Miami. both primi were quite tasty.

then we had a fried red mullet dish...interesting and good and I had the porchetta...a massive portion of pork...the outer part was quite tasty but the center was unfortunately dry and overcooked. the only negative note in the entire meal. really liked the cracklings and the bitter greens...accenting the richness of the pork.

also had a contorini of potatoes with pecorino...simple but not overcooked the way potatoes often are...

desserts were fine....the panna cotta was quite good...but the blackberry jam part was too sweet.

portions are large and prices gentle by contemporary standards. it's not revelatory but it is very good Southern Italian..a lot of it not really seen in NY.

Definitely recommended.

Edited by Nathan (log)
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  • 7 months later...
Reviving this thread - a friend of a friend has asked for suggestions for Italian.  This always somehow comes to mind, but I haven't been.  Anyone?

I've been once since it became Convivio (and a couple of time when it was L'impero, but under White's watch). It's always been at least very good, and can be really excellent at times.

My one complaint was a giant service fiasco that started with a snotty hostess and a 40 minute wait despite the fact that I had a reservation (which happens to be a huge pet peeve of mine...see thread about that topic). Even once seated, the food came very slowly that night (although I might not have noticed it had they not gotten off to such a bad start). Still, even that night, the food was very good. To their credit, a phone call to the manager produced a thorough and sincere apology and a generous credit toward a future meal.

But I digress. You should definitely go. The food is first rate Italian, and the prix fixe is a good deal. You can choose any four courses to construct your dinner.

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I was there once right after it switched to Convivio, and once within the last month.

One the basis of that small sample, it appeared to me that the food had declined pretty noticeably.

Given the Current Economic Climate, it was amazing how crowded it was a few weeks ago. I guess the value of that prix fixe tells.

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I was there once right after it switched to Convivio, and once within the last month.

One the basis of that small sample, it appeared to me that the food had declined pretty noticeably.

Given the Current Economic Climate, it was amazing how crowded it was a few weeks ago.  I guess the value of that prix fixe tells.

This makes me sad, as I haven't spent the food credit yet! Since it's free, I'll still be going, and I'll post my impressions of how the food has changed since my previous visit, which was a while ago.

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four of us went two weeks ago on Saturday at 6pm and the place was already slammed. At 8:30 they moved us to the couches in the lounge for dessert and coffee as they needed the table. That was ok because we had the enire area to ourselves. The food was excellent and the $59 pre fix is a very good deal. I wanted upscale Italian at a good price and this fit the bill. I would go back again. The wine prices also are fair.

Edited by hemingway (log)
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four of us went two weeks ago on Saturday at 6pm and the place was already slammed. At 8:30 they moved us to the couches in the lounge for dessert and coffee as they needed the table. That was ok because we had the enire area to ourselves. The food was excellent and the $59 pre fix is a very good deal. I wanted upscale Italian at a good  price and this fit the bill. I would go back again. The wine prices also are fair.

I wish they had done that for the table we were waiting for! We had to wait for ages after our reservation time to sit...

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