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Review of Corton

I went to Corton this past Saturday for dinner with my best friend. It's a quaint place in Tribeca and it's easy to miss. I know I walked past it before circling back for the door. Once inside, it's quite nice. The clean, crisp whiteness of the place is elegant and sophisticated. It's small and intimate but the high ceilings makes it feel bigger.

Through the door, I was quickly asked for my coat and the host knew exactly whom I was. My friend had already arrived and was sitting at the bar enjoying a glass of wine. We were quickly escorted to our table and our waitress approached us. We were greeted and given the menus. Our choice were either a 3 course prix fixe at $85 or the tasting menu at $145. We looked at the tasting menu but I was excited about all the choices. We opted for the prix fixe instead.

When the waitress came back, we placed out order. Quickly after that we were presented with some amuse bouche. One was a gougere type bite was a soft, and delicious cheese in the middle. It was fantastic. Ather was a bagel like bite but was quite forgettable. Another had some kind of blue cheese on a pastry. I liked this one too. But my favorite was a soup with foie gras in the bottom. Delicious!

Afterwards, our appetizers came. I ordered the foie gras and my friend had the farm egg. Both were beautifully presented like artwork. And the tableside service pouring the sauce/soup was great. Each dish came with a few small side dishes. They were surprises that we happily accepted.

I loved my foie gras that came as a ball in a beet gelee. The accompaniment were fanastic and I ate all of it. My friend loved her egg which was runny and soft. She had a slew of extra dishes and couldn't finish it all.

For entrees we had the lamb and the beef, both medium rare. They came out cooked perfectly (I assumed they were souv vide) and the sauce poured on tableside. Again, a slew of accompaniments. They were so many that I can't even remember them all. I felt overwhelmed but not in a bad way. I was happy to have received so much delicious food. We both started on our dishes and loved every little bite of it. Again, we finished off our plates. We were so happy with the food. Although, it seemed like a lot we had room for dessert.

I picked the chocolate tart and my friend had the clafoutis. Again, delicious. The tart was rich and decadent but not too much where I couldn't finish it. It was delicious. The clafoutis was light but buttery at the same time. It reminded me of a madeline but much better.

After dessert we were presented with a couple of gelees. Normally, I don't like gelees and wouldn't really care for them. But these were nice. They were soft and citrusy.

Then came out the truffles and bon bons. They asked which one would we like to try. And of course we had one of each. There were 3 types of macaroons: chocolate, lemon, and passion fruit. The last one was our favorite. Lastly, we had a slew of chocolates of different flavors. Our favorite was the simple dark chocolate ganache.

We really enjoyed our meal. So much so that we didn't even notice that it took 4 hours. I don't think all the diners took that long since some showed up and left before us. But we were having such a good time and the timing of everything was fantastic.

I don't have a single bad thing to say about Corton. It was just lovely and would absolutely go back again without a doubt. Service, food, decor, just everything was great.

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Corton
239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

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  1. Great. I'm going for the first time in a couple of weeks. Can't wait.

    1. Thanks. I will be going next week and hope I will enjoy it as much as you did.

      3 Replies
      1. re: rrems

        Okay, so we went last night and unfortunately were not especially impressed. Not that anything was bad, but when I think of all the wonderful food we have had at comparably priced places such as EMP, SHO,The Modern, Jean-Georges, Picholine, Veritas, etc. and at not-so-expensive ones like Tabla, Cru, Olana, Aldea, etc. I think this place is seriously overhyped and overpriced. My understanding is that Paul Liebrandt used to do really avant-garde cooking but has toned it down at Corton, yet it was still supposed to be characterized by bold flavors and unusual combinations. We found it timidly seasoned, almost bland. I also found it a bit confusing, with the bunch of separate plates for each course. Are you supposed to take a bit from each plate and eat it together, or eat each part separately? We tried both ways and it didn't really work either way. Taken individually the dishes were one-dimensional, and together some of the flavors did not really meld. For the record, the dishes we ordered were the foie gras,egg, cod and beef. I particularly felt the foie was very ordinary comparted to many others I've had. Desserts, noted in earlier posts on this board as being inferior, don't seem to have improved. Though my partner's clafoutis was pretty good, my brioche was odd. I was expecting something like a bread pudding, but it was just a piece of dry toasted brioche, the exact same one served with the foie gras, with some fruit and cheese and sauce on top. The menu was even more limited than the one on their website, though since this was our first (and only) time that was not a problem for us. The wines are insanely expensive, and on the lower end the mark-up is more than 3 times retail. It was obvious from a glance around that the majority of customers were business diners, presumably on expense accounts.

        1. re: rrems

          We didn't like the room, we found the food too precious and unexciting, and felt the whole experience was soul-less. I have no desire to go back after the one visit.

          1. re: gutsofsteel

            I thought Corton had improved? We went when they first opened . . .

      2. i recall tasting a lobster knuckle there with this orange sauce. i was left speechless by how good it was. one of the better meals i had in 2009.

        1. I just went for the first time. The amuses were amazing and kept on coming. The bread service was excellent. We had the prix fixe and added a course each. The pacing of the meal was perfect.
          My seafood appetizer was very special, multiple small plates of yumminess.
          The Mangalista pork was outstanding. The duck was presented two ways. First a little pie of leg confit and then the breast. The presentation was just beautiful. I am not a great fan of Lola duck. I prefer Moulard.
          The desert was outstanding. A dark chocolate ganache log and the S/O had a French toast and fruit contraption.
          The service was not intrusive and very professional. The wines and the sommelier were great.
          The price was hefty, but we ate and drank a lot.
          I would go back anytime. I thought that it was just as good if not better than EMP and certainly better that The Modern.
          I loved the innovative food and platings. The plates themselves were gorgeous too.

          12 Replies
          1. re: pups224

            Thanks for the review. I'm a huge fan of Corton as well, and also prefer it to EMP or The Modern.

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            Corton
            239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

            1. re: pups224

              Thanks for the great review! I'm having dinner at Corton tomorrow evening for the first time.

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              Corton
              239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

              1. re: ellenost

                Enjoy it, Ellenost. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Danny Meyer and I adore The Bar Room at The Modern and Gramercy Tavern but Corton is really interesting and eating your dinner makes you think about what is going on in your mouth. The intelligence of the cooking is also very fine.
                I guess that I need to go to Chicago and eat at Alinea.
                Looking forward to your review.

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                Gramercy Tavern
                42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

                Corton
                239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                1. re: pups224

                  Had an excellent dinner at Corton last night. We chose the tasting menu and supplemented it with the foie gras. The food at Corton is probably among the most creative, interesting, artistically presented, and most importantly, delicious food I've eaten in any restaurant. Sometimes I wasn't exactly sure what I was eating due to the too quck description by the servers, but everything (with the exception of one of the desserts that had too much rum for my liking) was great. Service was attentive. Butter was replenished before needing to request, and water glasses were also refilled before needing to request. Presentations were dramatic (duck presented in a smoke filled glass vessel; turbot presented tableside before slicing). Portion sizes were very good--not too small and not too large. Pacing of courses was excellent. Dinner took about 4 hours. If you dine at Corton be prepared for an exciting culinary adventure.

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                  Corton
                  239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                  1. re: ellenost

                    That duck sounds interesting! I'll definitely return to Corton for the tasting menu.

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                    Corton
                    239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                    1. re: Riverman500

                      Do so - in my personal opinion in is every bit as good as the other NYT 4-Star restaurants and much better than Jean Georges, Le Bernardin, and Del Posto.

                      It is difficult to compare to EMP as the styles are starky different, but what Liebrandt is doing there is stunning.

                      When I get around to the full review I'll clarify the things Ellenost wasn't sure - I will note the wait staff was heavily accented and on some occasions mumbly over the extremely loud group across the way.

                      http://uhockey.blogspot.com

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                      Jean Georges
                      1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

                      Del Posto
                      85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

                      Le Bernardin
                      155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

                    2. re: ellenost

                      Huh. This thread (esp. recent reviews) made me really want to try Corton soon.

                      1. re: uwsister

                        I had always been curious about the restaurant and Liebrandt's cooking (especially since I had dined at Gilt when he was the chef), and finally had an opportunity to try Corton. I was very pleased. It's not for everyone. Not for people that want classically prepared cooking. But if you're adventerous in food, I think you'll be very pleased. This is definitely not my mother's type of food--she had joined me when we dined at Gilt--not to her liking.

                      2. re: ellenost

                        I am so glad that you had the same opinion that I did. This is an excellent restaurant and so worth going to.
                        It was not full the night that I went which made me apprehensive.
                        Was the restaurant full when you were there?

                        1. re: pups224

                          it was ~1/3 full when we arrived and only one table was open when we left.

                          What Liebrandt is doing there is something special - in my opinion it is the most "original" of the fine dining experiences in the city. Gagnaire-light. :-)

                          If I lived in New York I'd say Corton would be my special events dinner place each time the seasonal tasting menu changed while EMP and The Modern would be my special events lunch places.

                          Bouley's menu simply doesn't change often enough and Per Se is simply too pricey to do too often - but both warrant a return visit in the future.

                          http://uhockey.blogspot.com

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                          Per Se
                          10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

                          Corton
                          239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                          1. re: uhockey

                            Is the Corton website menu updated uhockey? It always seems to be the same...

                            I was supposed to go in January but unfortunately was hit with 20+ inches of snow that day and there was no way I was driving in that to get to the restaurant. still looking forward to going soon and looking forward to seeing the documentary on Liebrandt

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                            Corton
                            239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

                            1. re: wreckers00

                              Odd - the menu changes quite frequently (I'd stalked the site for about 3 months prior to going) and the night we went it had actually just been updated and was 100% accurate. It has changed since, but I imagine that (or something very similar) is what they are serving today.

                              http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                2. Great review but I'm amazed you didn't mention my favorite part of the meal: the seaweed butter that was served with the bread. Unbelievable!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: eatthisny

                    I first tried seaweed butter three years ago, not made by Chef Paul Liebrandt but created by a Korean chef called "Choi, Hyun Seok".

                    Over the seaweed butter, Chef Choi poured creamy and delicious seafood cream soup with fish, scallops, prawns and clams (kind of like seafood chowder). It was truly divine!

                    http://blog.naver.com/kosmose7/900328...