Grub/Spirits Restaurant Reviews — 19 September 2011
corsino: A Restaurant Review

637 Hudson Street, near Horatio Street, West Village
Getting There: A,C,E to 14th Street; L to Eighth Avenue

With restaurants aplenty and a vibrant energy, the west village has long been perhaps the most desirable Manhattan neighborhood to inhabit. Within the glut of notable eateries however, sitting on an outstanding corner spot with massive windows for gazing out into the city streets lies corsino, a restaurant that embodies the essence of an energetic neighborhood while serving food deemed reasonably priced. And it’s pretty good too.

The concept behind corsino is the same principle that drives the success of sister restaurants ‘ino and ‘inoteca- a comfortable and relaxed, cool place that serves up affordable fare, which would explain why the crowds at each of these restaurants tend to skew a bit younger. Nevertheless, the window side tables play perfectly for people watching, while the long bar seating offers a more casual intimacy in a non traditional sense.

The crostinis make an excellent starter item, with 14 different options to choose from and priced at just $2.50 each.  Forgoing tasty alternatives like “roasted squash & ricotta salata” and “fennel, orange, and white anchovy,” we went with a savory (“chicken liver”) and a sweet (ricotta and orange honey). The crunchy bread paired excellently with the creaminess of each spread- the chicken liver was standard and delicious, while the ricotta was rich and buttery, and the honey complimented without dominating the overall flavor of the dish.  Similarly, the “burrata, grilled bread, and summer vegetables” ($13) left us rolling our eyes in pleasure with each bite. Pacing our courses out evenly, we opted for a heaping bowl of pasta to share- the “tagliatelle with pork ragu and mint” ($18) was the stand out dish of the meal for our money. Compared to other Italian eateries, the portion size at corsino was unbeatable for the price point and the delicately sauced pasta strands and fresh mint were tossed with salty pork chunks and slurped up quickly.

For our main dishes, the “heritage brisket meatballs” ($15) were also of fantastic value. corsino prepares them with 100% beef hence the ‘brisket, so the taste is distinctive which does not necessarily mean “better.” But it’s a nice change of pace for a traditional style dish, coupled with a red tomato sauce was both sweet and very flavorful. Thumbs up.  The “maya shrimp spiedini” ($14) was admittedly not as enjoyable as the meatball dish, but with two entrees for $29, it’s difficult to argue that it was not fair value. Prepared with porcini mushrooms and white truffle, the dish was run of the mill and left us flat.  The side of “spinach with garlic and pine nuts” ($8) however, was a pleasant “contorni” order as a side.

Definitively, corsino is not the best restaurant in Manhattan, nor does it have to be. What it is however, is a restaurant that prepares some terrific food at tremendous value. The ambiance is as excellent as the service and if you can secure a spot near the window, you’ll enjoy enough fodder for conversation to last an entire evening. If you order properly, and stick to your comfort zone, you’ll enjoy yourself here immensely and you’ll save a few sheckles to boot.

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