Magazine article The New Yorker

Corvo Bianco

Magazine article The New Yorker

Corvo Bianco

Article excerpt

446 Columbus Ave. (212-595-2624)

If anyone has ever asked what a Negroni made without gin tastes like, they can drink the answer at Corvo Bianco, a new modern Italian bar and restaurant on the Upper West Side. Apart from the "classic"--gin, sweet vermouth, Campari--there is a "smoky" one, made with rum, and the vodka-based "angelo." It's hard to reinvent perfection, though: while both variations end with that astringent, pleasantly medicinal taste of vermouth, what's absent is that sweet, flowery, English-garden quality. These cocktails feel like shortcuts, rather than rambles.

But maybe that's beside the point, since the bar area--distinct from the cavernous restaurant in the back--is filled with people who just seem anxious for a drink. Judging by the preponderance of women in halter tops and nervy solo guys checking their Blackberries, Corvo Bianco is a favorite choice for Match.com meet-ups, perhaps because it's one of the few places in the neighborhood approximating the high-decibel, hostess-table experience of a downtown boite. And even if the bar feels a little like a hotel lobby (this was once the Endicott), the dining room really is stunning. There is a tree suspended in wire, a vaulted glass ceiling, and a dramatic brick arch that may as well be Etruscan. The decor says: do not expect chicken parmigiana, or anything resembling red-sauce fare. Do not even expect gin in your Negroni.

Instead, Elizabeth Falkner, who conquered Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn last year with artful kale salads and prosciutto pizzas at Krescendo, is aiming for something considerably more sophisticated, with dishes drawn from the coastal regions of Italy. …

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