10 years ago if you were to ask me what are my favorite NY restaurants, I would probably mention Union Square Cafe, Blue Water Grill, Gotham, Gramercy Tavern, and my neighborhood Chili’s (Yes thats right Chili’s. In the burbs those ribs are the best thing you can get). Now, although those places are still alive and kicking, I’ve moved on and havent been since. But one place in particular could have become more of a regular for us if it hadnt closed so prematurely, Michael White’s first restaurant, Fiamma. I don’t recall why they closed it. It only got a Michelin star and perhaps more importantly 3 New York Times stars.
10 years later, the boy is now a man. I’m talking about sir Michael White, not Ziggy (I still on occasion cry during Family Guy). White, is now an owner. An owner of 5 restaurants including Ai Fiori and the amazing Marea. (Seriously have you seen the episode where stewy and Brian are stuck in the bank? That was pure emotion). Michael White’s 5th restaurant is 3 week old Costata at the same space as former Fiamma. Naturally, I couldn’t wait much and the result was a glorious meal of the year, and one of the most memorable meals we’ve had in NYC
Inside right away it felt like being in the old Fiamma. But one of the first things we noticed was the number of employees around us. It felt like a factory. Perhaps they don’t want to take any chances in the first few weeks with all the newspaper critics and (ahem) Ziggys visiting. In fact the main manager came over to us mentioning that she saw me taking pictures outside with my fancy new camera, and at first I though I was in trouble, but she assured me that its more than ok and I can take all the pictures I want. So I got a little carried away taking pictures everywhere including with my new best friend Michael White (we bonded while exchanging Hummus recipes)
Costata is as if Marea, Scarpetta and Minetta Tavern got together and made a beautiful baby boy named Tommy. Like Minetta, its a steakhouse with a twist. The twist being great crudo and pastas.
And we started with that amazing Crudo. The scallops with truffle vinaigrette in particular was a stunner and a dish of the year nominee. Buttery, melt in your mouth goodness, and with that amazing but not overpowering truffle sauce was a thing of beauty. Picture perfect razor clams were great as well. With bits of sopressata (wow) and fennel mixed in with the ceviched clams. Brought us back to the awesome razor clams in Venice a few years back. Great start
Pastas were more than satisfying. The Lumache Carbonara was probably the winner for me. Although the pasta didn’t have that Lumache “snail” shape. Like Orecchiette (shape like baby ear) and other pastas the Italians call it as they see it. Though, I’m not quite sure about their motivation behind the Strozzapreti which means priest stranglers! Did someone envision a pasta shape while watching a poor priest being strangled? The Cavatelli with tender juicy oxtail was another winner. The Old favorite Garganelli Alla Fiamma with light truffle cream, the only remaining dish from Fiamma, was still good but I preferred the others a bit more.
Then came the main event. One of the most flavorful steaks I ever had. A mammoth 44oz $120 Tomahawk Ribeye cooked to perfection. We asked for medium (wife demands) so I was a little worried that they would overcook the beast but it came out perfect medium rare for the most part (or “real” medium in high end dining). Black truffle butter was the choice (extra $3) and sides of fries and asparagus ($10 each) complimented nicely. But the steak, OMG the steak, basted beautifully with a rosemary brush was so addictively delicious that I kept getting lost in the moment forgetting the sides. Its almost a cliché but this is probably the best steak we ever had
As expected the service was top notch and very knowledgeable (some veterans from Minetta Tavern and Lincoln) as you would expect in a place like this. Jokingly I offered to pay with my Minetta tavern gift card I got from friends for our 20th anniversary (thanks guys if you reading, and even if you are not). I could have really used a card here as this turned out much pricier than anticipated (just north of $400 with tip, including 2 drinks)
So yes, meal of the year and highly recommend Costata. Now if you excuse me, Family Guy is on. Where are the tissues.