Convivio: stick with the pasta?
I am going to Convivio tonight to celebrate Valentine's Day to celebrate V-Day without dealing with overpriced prix-fixes and a crush of diners. As they are known especially for their pasta dishes, on their current menu is it reasonable to get a few pasta dishes to share as our main dishes? Or will we be missing out on a few standout "main course" dishes?
Any other recs re dishes on their current menu are welcome!
Post-meal, here's my wrap up of the experience, which overall was everything I'd hoped!
-We started off the meal with some fantastic olive bread: crusty outside, soft inside with big chunks of green olive. I can't claim a huge amount of experience, but definitely better than other olive breads I've had.
We next had two appetizers, the broccoli rabe/pomodoro/ricotta and the octopus (thanks erica!) The broccoli rabe dish was an excellent start, a nice flavors melded together and I am a sucker for properly-cooked greens. It was also a very good serving size considering it was only 6 or 7 dollars! The octopus did not disappoint either; cooked nicely and with a chickpea panissa underneath that had a touch of pepper to offset the octopus. Only complaint was that the outside of the panissa wasn't as crispy as I would have liked, perhaps from the octopus. But overall, well-executed.
We next split the malorredus (sp?), which seems like one of their specialties. Saffron gnocchi in a tomato-based sauce with sea urchin. The gnocchi are made with semolina instead of potato, which was a good substitution for this dish, as it otherwise would have weighed it down. The sea urchin flavor was not as developed as it could have been. An enjoyable dish, but not my favorite of the night. That distinction goes to the next pasta dish, the squid ink pasta with mussels, seppia, and swordfish meatballs. Very craveable. The sweetness of the swordfish meatballs and light tomato sauce contrasted with the earthy mussels and squid ink pasta. I could have done without the seppia, as it was perhaps cooked too long and was too rubbery. But, that did not spoil the dish-overall amazing.
Unfortunately, the last pasta dish we tried was not as successful in my mind-the maccheroni alla carbonara. I felt there was too much sauce and too little pancetta to make a complete dish. Nothing was particularly poorly done, but it was rather underwhelming. I think next time I will have to try the pork shoulder ragu as I was contemplating it as an alternative.
The wine list has a nice selection that did not seem too marked-up; we thoroughly enjoyed our 1996 sangiovese, which they decanted for us.
Others have claimed poor service, but we experienced quite the opposite. Our server was quite attentive and made suggestions such as the order of our pasta dishes based on how they were prepared and the lightness of each, without being intrusive.
One more thing in its favor: quite reasonable prices considering the quality; the food bill for us (minus tax/tip/wine) came to a little under $100, and we had plenty to sate our appetites.
Definitely a place I would look forward to going back to, although given how much I enjoyed the seafood dishes in particular, I'm thinking I should try out Marea as well....
45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017
Sorry I did not get to reply to your original post in time, but next time you go be sure to try the quail appetizer, it's amazing. The pasta with pork shoulder is one of the best dishes, and although I like the maloreddus, I agree that the sea urchin flavor could be more pronounced. I've been to Marea, and I would say the food is comparable, yet it is MUCH more expensive. I loved the Dover sole I had there, but I have had good fish at Convivio too. I'm glad you had a good time and thanks for reporting.
When we go to Convivo we do their $62 prix-fixe but instead of doing an pasta and a main we do pasta for 2 of the courses. I'm a huge fan of the Cicatelli al Forno and the Malloreddus. My husband loves the Maccheroni alla Carbonara and the fusilli. The fegatini appetizer is also amazing- I love the caramelized onions that are on it. Also the testa is great.
Make sure to get a side of the pecornio potatoes- they are fabulous! Have a great time!!