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Dive In to 10 Corso Como

We didn't think we were going to find it. How embarassing! I'm a NYC native. How on earth was I so confused finding 10 Corso Como? Low end of Fulton St? Pretty easy, just hop the A downtown to Fulton. Boom! Not quite. Luckily, Kendra who answered the phone when we called from the mall about .7 miles away (where GPS will take you if you enter 1 Fulton Street), had experienced this before. "We're having trouble finding you," I laughed into my phone. I felt like an idiot. How was I lost in my home town?

A soft chuckle came through the line. I could hear that she was smiling, "We get that a lot. Use 200 Front Street." After a quick Uber we were there. Luckily with time to spare (I refused to ask for help much to the annoyance of my dining companion). Use 200 Front or Front & Beekman. Believe me, you do not want to be late for your night at 10 Corso Como.

Part gallery, part restaurant, part shop, 10 Corso Como has an ultra chic aesthetic from the outside and all of the way throughout. Lots of circles reminiscent of sand dollars or jelly fish. Despite being ready for a drink and eager to get out of the cold, we had to stop to admire the signs and window displays.

Once inside a small vestibule our voices and thoughts were immediately quieted. The visual impact of 10 Corso Como took our breaths away. First, bluish walls and a concept piece fish tank that honestly looked like it was full of water.

And then the space itself, a mix of tiles in muted colors—including those you'd find in the sand and rocks of the shore—stainless steel, glass, and PVC tubing. More on that later. Add to this dim lighting, low tables, flickering candles, and a great selection of upbeat electronic lounge music and you have a really cool restaurant. I cringe at the use of that, but Kris Ruhs has designed a space that is cool. And it's not trying. It's so not trying. And that's what makes it so brilliant.

We checked in and were offered a table but opted for a drink at the bar where we found out that the lights were not "cut test tubes" as I guessed (I'm not a scientist) but PVC tubing. As homebrewers, my dining partner and I got a serious kick out of this. Also, I imagine it makes way more sense than glass: it's easy to clean, lightweight, and economical. Around the bar was a ring of glass, under which the PVC glowed blue, continuing the underwater vibe. And above hung the largest light fixture in the place. The rest of the lights were round and filled with the same tubes.

We were immediately greeted and offered water. We opted for sparkling. My companion ordered the 2016 Nebbiolo Langhe Guidobono. It was served in a clean glass and at the right temperature and was incredibly flavorful and fresh. I ordered the signature cocktail: 10 Corso Como. The drink is garnished simply with a lime and contains Hornitas Plato, Amaro Montenegro, blood orange, lime and agave. It's sweet but not syrupy and had a nice little kick of both alcohol and flavor.

The blue PVC lighting can change colors. Despite our excitement upon hearing purple was an option it stayed blue. And this was such a great color for tieing everything together. Dwight Dwayne was behind the bar and we enjoyed chatting with him. We also enjoyed the spicy bar nuts he provided.

While we sat at the bar we took in our surroundings. The bar area also has seating at standard tables where you could fit 2-4 and a low bench couch with small tables and low ottomans for seating that divides the space from the dining area. Dark blues and grays and silver give a very cool monochromatic aesthetic that seems influenced by mid-century modern, but isn't.

Diners ranged from those enjoying a solo dinner to large groups. The "smart casual" dress code ran the gamut, too, as did the ages of diners. One thing can be said: everyone looked sharp whether in their LBD and some bling or dark wash jeans and a nice top. The large group of mid-twenty to mid-thirtysomethings next to us were on the more casual side but incredibly stylish. 

Carla Sozzani and Kris Ruhs have injected the space with an incredible vibe through everything from lighting fixtures and dimness to music to the crisp white shirts of the all male (that just hit me: we only saw two women, each working as a host but not at the same time) staff. It's "space age chic underwater" sans kitsch. How is that even possible? 

The aesthetic continues through every nook and cranny. Yup, even the bathrooms are gorgeous. They are bright, with fully private stalls, large shallow square white ceramic sinks and one of my favorite visual themes that was carried throughout: vases of the jellyfish-esque flowers.

I hate people who take pictures in bathrooms but how could I not?

Back to the bar. My partner in crime for the evening ordered a second glass of wine, this time the Sangiovese Poggio al Tiempo from Santa Vittori, Tuscany. It was a 2015. The wine was flawed but it was hard to tell if it was something that was from being out a few days or an inherent flaw in the wine that was kind of buttery (diacityl was definitely present and shouldn't have been). I told my friend he could ask for something else since it was a flaw but he opted not to. A constant issue I run into is places that keep their by-the-glass wine a little long. Without a preservation system you've got maybe six hours, this may have been a few days since opened.

When we were finishing up our drinks we were asked if we wanted to be seated and went happily. We were hungry and it was also late. We didn't want to hold anyone up who had reservations after us. Our table was against the windows with a spectacular view (for me) of the dining room including the wall everyone takes pictures of.

The menu was large, especially for restaurant week, and that made it impossible to make decisions. Everything sounded good. The seafood options made things a little easier: I have a seafood allergy (all things from the sea, not just shellfish) so that narrowed things down. We finally settled and ordered from Vinny, who then brought out foccaccia served with a taste of bean soup.
What a great way to serve bread. Butter is boring. Oil is nice but also a little boring. Bruschetta can be too much at the start of a meal but the soup was light and fresh and just enough to be a treat. Think of it as an amuse bouche.

The menu is huge, even during restaurant week. A lot of it has seafood but I have a seafood allergy so as always, no reviews of those dishes. I have to imagine they are high quality based on everything else.

Vinny was attentive without being overbearing and knew the menu inside and out. He also had excellent pronunciation, which I always appreciate. Alec, who served our wine, was also fantastic, and handled the wine service well. We decided on the Nebbiolo to go with what would be a tomato heavy meal.

For starts we ordered Polpettine di Pomodo. The meatballs were perfectly prepared with a bit of pink in the middle, and more done on the outside. They are obviously cooked in the sauce so there is no dryness or sharp bite from searing or charring ahead of time. They were tender and flavorful and a nice compliment to the very fresh, light sauce. The mozzarella was fresh and not overdone. Served in a black and white bowl with a simple basil garnish, it complemented the vibe well. Everything is deliberate when it comes to visuals, but nothing is over done.

Keeping with the meaty, tomato and cheese we also had the Tortino di Melanzane. The eggplant was perfectly done and meaty. Portions on both starters were larger than expected but also do really well the next day.

For mains we took Vinny's advice and tried the lasagne. I could not get a good picture of it, unfortunately. The spinach noodles were soft but not overdone and the sauce... the sauce! Meaty with great flavor from the rosemary. Wow. I never order lasagne out because I'm partial to my mom's which includes the sauce recipe that's been handed down in her family for generations. I'm glad I broke this rule. The proportion of pasta to filling was great and like the other dishes there was no oversalting. 

The chicken, on the other hand, can be skipped. It's perfect for the picky eater in your group (every group has one), beautifully prepared, but too simple. Not bad, mind you, but compared to everything else we were underwhelmed. The skin was done well and the potato puree a nice play on mashed potatoes but where were the chilis? We didn't come across a single one. Still, it was beautifully presented and again, great for someone who is picky.

Dessert was Torta di Ricotta which was gorgeously presented. It had the crust crumbled on top, dehydrated granny smith apples and stewed apples. The crumble had a bite of salt which brought it together beautifully. The ricotta was not overly sweetened and instead balnced the sweetness of the apples nicely, as did the addition of the grannies. If you're missing fall during winter, this is the dessert to get: autumnal! The textured black dish was the perfect way to frame this dessert. 

My dining companion loves tiramisù so it was a given that he'd order some. 10 Corso Como serves up theirs parfait style in a double-walled tumbler that allows diners to see the layers of lady fingers and marscapone. The balance of cocoa and espresso flavors was perfect and despite both of us being full we couldn't leave a single bite of it. And, because I know people wonder: not a bit too wet!

Whether purposeful or not, the use of the same design on the plate as the start of our meal tied everything together.

This was an great experience from entry to exit and even the next day as we enjoyed the leftover wine and food. I recommend making a reservation and exploring Chef Jordan Frosolone's menu. His time in Italy brings true authenticity to each dish and allows the flavors and simple presentation, not heaps of salt and crazy garnishes, speak for itself. The tomato-based dishes are filling but there are lots of light options, so mix it up. Portions are perfect for sharing. Pick out a few and enjoy a meal osteria style. And make sure you get some of that lasagne.

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