- scene: Lacquered wood walls and some loud art; rock music but still rather stiff
- sip: Wine
- savor: Soft Shell Crabs; Veal Chop; Faroto
- sit: With expense account friends; people with big appetites and wallets
- spend: $$$$
- address: 206 Spring Street (off of 6th Ave)
- phone number: (212) 334-3320
- website: www.costatanyc.com
Alright- I am going to start this off with a disclaimer: This review was based on a one time visit to Costata, early in its existence- if things improve drastically, I hold the right to go back and re-evaluate.
Costata does a lot of things, but none of them that well. This steakhouse/Italian/Seafood joint has big prices and big ambitions, but lacks the laser precision and creativity that Michael White is capable of in order to be anything truly spectatular. We know Michael White can do pasta- we actually first fell in love with him at this very space, when it was Fiamma; We know that Michael White can do seafood- Marea is one of the best restaurants in NYC and consistently surpasses our expecatations. Michael White should be able to do steak, but, um…WHYYYYYY?!!! After so much success, Costata seems held back and restrained, more of a “how much can you spend?” Vegas hotel installation than the ode to good cooking that it should be.
So let’s start with the space: Fiamma, oops Costata, is a multi-level townhouse space on Spring Street. Not much of the layout has changed from Fiamma, but the richness and coziness is gone. The walls are slick laquered wood, and there are some statement art pieces and rock music, but the candles are fake and there is just no vibe. The lights were too bright and both dining rooms were too sterile and and almost contrived; there wasn’t the hushed reverence of a fine dining place or even the bustle and energy of Marea, with its many nooks and crannies. Just sort of blahsville.
Service was also lacking, but I will not dwell on that too much because i know that the joint just opened. Let’s get down to the food.
Crudos-Branzino with olives, pine-nuts and oregano- this dish could have benefited from a hit of citrus or more of the saltiness of the olives; there was nothing texturally or flavorally (you know what I mean) that played up the mildness of the fish.
Razor clams marinated with fennel and soppressata- nicely chopped and balanced with a hit of acid and fennel crunch, I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would
Softshell crabs-semolina dusted with fennel, soppressata and radish- they were delicious, very seasonal and exciting
Spagehtti and clam sauce- average at best
Carbonara- snooooooze….someone in our group called it ” Easy Mac”…
Veal Chop- This was the real star- it was enormous and perfectly cooked and seasoned, simple and well done
NY Strip-This might just be a preference to me, but the real dry age flavor was too strong and gamey for my tastes; others at the table were underwhelmed and thought that it lacked basic seasoning.
Bone Marrow Faroto-Pure, rich amazeballs
Baked Meringue dessert- I never tire of eating meringue, I always feel so naughty, like I am eating pure sugar; this was a tasty and crunchy dish that is perfect for this time of year.
So the bottom line: Costata is back where it all started, but it is making me wonder how far we have come at all. Unless more attention is paid to the (many) aspects of this menu, I think customers would be tempted to head elsewhere (Italian place, steakhouse, etc) that does one specialty right. There were definitely dishes that we enjoyed, and the food was beautifully presented, but the overall experience did not have us excited. Costata needs White to make right…