Last weekend, my parents, the Vegetarian and I took in a nice dinner at Convivio, mainly for dad’s birthday. I have wanted to try one of Michael White’s restaurants for a while now, and am glad that I finally got to try Convivio. The location itself is a bit odd, located in Tudor city, and not a place you would just stumble upon walking around — unless of course you’re walking around the UN Building. The restaurant itself was very charming, not overly big and provided great service. (my apologies for no photos – the light was low and they didn’t come out)
We arrived right on time for our reservation and were seated almost immediately. Upon arriving at our table, a small envelope was perched next to the candle. I was a bit confused, so I opened it, and it turned out to be for my dad — a birthday card from the restaurant. A very classy move and not something I have seen before.
The menu here, which I had studied prior to my arrival, features a four course prix fixe, though no one was daring or hungry enough. Three of us at the table opted to order a Primi (first course) and a Secondi (second course), rather than an antipasti and one of the other two. We all had a difficult time deciding, but I went against my normal inclination to order the oxtail ragu and went with the gnochetti with crab and sea urchin. The pasta was made with semonlina and really looked like mini rolled up gnocchi. The sauce was red and had some crushed pepper for spice and bread crumbs for texture. I really didn’t taste any sea urchin, though I enjoyed it immensely. I had a few bites of my mom’s oxtail ragu and that was superb.
For my second course, I ordered the pork shank braised in beer (of course). The shank was enormous and below sat mashed root vegetables. The veggies could have been in greater quantity, but the pork was plentiful and filling. I also tasted the sea bass, which was cooked well, showcasing a crispy skin its flaky flesh.
If this wasn’t enough, we each ordered our own dessert. I picked the Zuppa di Cioccolato which was a mint bergamot semifreddo surrounded by hot chocolate soup. This was a little too much for me, and I only could eat a 1/3 of it. Though I wasn’t shy on my mom’s banana custard filled doughnut with a gianduja chocolate sauce. These were magnificent.
The service throughout the night was excellent. Each time they brought a course they described it and if there was a change made (twice for the Vegetarian), they announced it. The water never fell below half a glass, plates were cleared in a timely fashion and the waitress was helpful and never rude or difficult to find. This is definitely one of the finer Italian meals I have eaten in New York City.