Italian/ lunch/ nyc

Convivio: Taste of Italy with their Lunch Prix Fix

Being a person who longs for eating handmade al dente pastas and delicate yet fragrant sauces, I am on a search for real authentic Italian food similar to what I ate in Italy. I am not sure what places in NYC can provide me this quality of Italian food (so maybe someone can provide me some recommendations), but I am going to go through NY Mag’s Two for Eight, Notable Italian restaurants. The first one on the list to try is Convivio.

It is located at 45 Tutor City Place and as a veteran New Yorker, I didn’t know where that was. Turns out that it is on a small street nestled within Midtown East, right across from the United Nations. At first, I mistakenly go into an apartment building with the same address, and the doorman tells me the restaurant is right next door. I finally make it through the rain and get into the restaurant, which is nicely decorated with warm yet clean furniture: a large mirror, simple and beautiful floral arrangements, and a red velvet seats line the wall. The wait staff is friendly and professional, informing us of the prix fix menu that is two courses for $28, and its conditions:

1. You can choose two courses, either an appetizer + pasta, pasta + pasta, or appetizer + entrée.
2. You cannot have two entrees.
3. Any additional course is $12.

Their pasta portions are sizable for a girl like me, but probably not enough for a boy with a hefty appetite. I ordered an appetizer called Polpettine, tomato braised meatballs and a ricotta salada, since I have been on a quest to find the “perfect meatball” (but that’s meant as a whole other post altogether).

Their meatballs were tender and juicy, but a little salty for my taste. I liked the tomato sauce that came with it because it helped cut the salt and provided a tart and sweet flavor to the meatballs.

Then came the pasta – Pappardelle al Nero di Seppia, which is their squid ink pasta with seppia (cuttlefish), mussels, and swordfish polpettine. The pasta was al dente and the seafood, nicely cooked, provided the unami flavor to the pasta. The swordfish polpettine reminds me of Chinese seafood cake because of its similarity in texture and shape, so that made the dish even tastier and fun to eat.

I walked out feeling not too full or hungry, perfectly satisfied with the lunch. Convivio comes close to what I experienced in Italy, more so than other Italian restaurants that I have encountered in NYC. My intention is to go back for dinner to see how their full menu compares to lunch. As for now, Convivio has given me a small taste of Italy, which is all I can ask for.

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5 Comments

  • Reply
    Pam
    March 25, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Very nice blog you have….so yummy!

    xoxo

  • Reply
    Velva
    March 25, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Sometimes the difference in taste has more to do with where/how the food was grown. Looks like you had a good experience.

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Hot Cookin'
    March 25, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    What is it about salt in restaurants? Lately I’ve had the same experience of a dish being too salty; I guess the chef or sous chef is not tasting the food they’re making! Regardless, the broccoli rabe in the photo next to the meatballs looked quite good. The pasta looked quite good, too!

  • Reply
    Terry Chen
    March 25, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Pam: Thanks for visiting! Be sure to come back. =)

    Velva: That’s true sometimes the difference in tastes deals with where it originates from. That’s something to keep in the back of my mind. Good point!

    Kelly: Yeah I feel like a lot of nice restaurants have been over salting their foods. In the case of Convivio, it didn’t take too much away from the dish though. Yes, these dishes were definitely enjoyable to eat! =)

  • Reply
    kim
    April 14, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    I’ve heard this is ann under the radar place for a nice prix-fixe lunch. I’d like to try it and hope they’d have vegetarian dishes for me to choose from. Have you tried Del Posto? Great deal (not so great for vegetarians though since most of the best dishes are meat-centric)

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