An Early Taste of Corvo Bianco
As testament to Top Chef Masters alum Elizabeth Falkner's star power (or perhaps because there aren't a lot of great, buzzy restaurants on the Upper West Side), the neighborhood quickly embraced newly opened Corvo Bianco: The restaurant was so packed with people clamoring for a table a couple of nights ago, the hosts seemed ready to weep when new diners came through the door. "No reservation?" they asked, exasperated. "Unfortunately, it's impossible. No, our bar is full, too. I'm sorry. You'll just have to wait or come back and see us another time."
We fought through the crowd to snatch up a corner table that had just vacated, forgoing the deep, glass-ceilinged dining room hidden just beyond a corridor from where we sat. A wall-sized photo of an arched outdoor hallway in the back of this front room gives the space the illusion of extra depth, though the whole thing feels a bit like a tavern (and we imagine it will be cozy come winter).
Falkner--who departed from Krescendo in Boerum Hill before jumping aboard this project--teamed up with restaurateur Luis Gonzalez for this project, who also brought on Michael Neff (Ward III, the Rum House) to oversee the cocktail program. His sizable drinks list isn't slavish to Italian spirits (though you'll find Aperol, Averna, and three variations on the negroni); it appears he prefers to offer seasonal drinks with--since it's summer--fresh, light flavors.
Falkner's menu is rooted in neighborhood Italian fare, and it traipses through the typical salad, primi, and secondi courses. Look for items like burrata with shaved summer squash, trenette nere pasta with sea urchin and sesame, and porchetta with fennel and mustard greens.
One nice thing: Doing the spot without breaking the bank is fairly easy. Corvo Bianco offers a list of bar snacks under $10; order a couple and a drink, and you'll leave satisfied. That's exactly what we did earlier this week, before we gave up our table to the press of drinkers waiting to jump on it the moment we stood to leave.
A dish curiously called avocado, despite the fact that there were just a few nubs of avocado in the bowl
Prawns atop a cocoa nib-studded romesco
The chingon, a margarita infused with white pepper and hot sauce
The corvo bianco, made with tequila, white vermouth, lime, and egg white
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