When Corsino opened a few weeks ago, I asked AV if we could go. "Of course," he replied, and promptly booked us a reservation for their first Saturday night open. Unfortunately, I had already planned a girls' night for that very same evening-- and so the reservation was cancelled. But suffice it to say that Corsino, owned by the same small-plates-Italian maestros behind 'ino and the 'inotecas, has been on my radar ever since.
Well, this past Friday, we finally made it there, convening in the drizzly night for a couples double date with my friend SW and her fiance BC. We arrived around 8:30 to an hour-long wait, so we sidled up to the bar for some drinks. SW and AV each started with a gin-based lemonade concoction, which was not too sweet with just enough fizz from a float of prosecco. BC and I went for large glasses of red wine. And by "large," I mean LARGE-- for each glass you order, Corsino gives you essentially a full glass plus a full mini-carafe, netting out to about two substantial glasses per order. Quite a good value, especially since most of the wines remain in the $9-14 per glass range.
We stood and chatted for a while, staring down the occupants of our prospective table, until finally they stood and vacated. We scurried over to the four-top by the window and settled in for some food.
To start, SW, BC, and AV each sampled the crostini. SW and BC shared the basil pesto and the butternut squash and roasted garlic crostini. AV chose the brussels sprouts and pecorino, of which I stole a bite. Overall, delicious, but at $2.50 PER CROSTINO, it's not exactly the best value on the menu.
While the others nibbled crostini, I dove right into a huge cheese plate. I selected five cheese for the "table to share," but let's be honest, by the end of the evening I had pretty much eaten nearly the whole thing. Every cheese-- robiola, fontina, taleggio, pecorino, and fresh ricotta-- was superlative, and the warm pressed panini-like bread points were the perfect foil for the creamy cheeses. However, I must admit I was disappointed by the accompaniments: blackened pistachios and a threatening pool of tomato and/or red pepper jelly. Uh, eew. Give me some preserves, fruit, and nuts any day.
As I continued to plow through the cheeses, the entrees arrived. AV and SW had both chosen the crespelle with ricotta, tomato, and basil. These crepes were like a flatter version of lasagna, or perhaps horizontal stuffed shells-- regardless, as I snuck a few bites, they were delicious.
BC also seriously enjoyed his order of heritage brisket meatballs, with a generous shaving of pecorino over the top. The consensus between SW and BC was that they could only describe them as "layers of heaven." There's also an illustrative hand motion to accompany that description, but I'll leave that to the imaginations of my readers.
It was late and we were all pretty sopped with food and wine, but when the dessert menus came around, they HAD to be investigated, right? SW chose a tiramisu for the table, and when it arrived, we tackled it like crazed animals. Gosh, that tiramisu was delicious, one of the best I've had in a while. With thick layers of whipped cream and ladyfingers that held their structural integrity despite a boozy bite, this was one for the ages.
And so, in the end, how did Corsino stack up? Pretty much as I had expected. The food and wine were quite good. The hour-long wait and relatively scattered service, not as good. The pricing was also somewhat erratic-- while certain menu items (wine, crespelle) were good values, others (crostini) truly weren't. Overall, I'd say Corsino comes in as a solid three Offset Spatula restaurant. So while I'm not sure I'd go seriously out of my way to go again, if you live in the West Village and have a few hours to kill, definitely check give it a go. But order carefully, lest that final tab sneak up on you...
637 Hudson Street, at Horatio Street