NEW YORK, NY
When I was doing my research about Corima, I got incredibly excited about the chef and his extensive work and creativity around the world. It was lunch time and I was drooling as I waited impatiently for five thirty which was when my reservation was. Snow and cold weather would not stop me and for once, I was looking forward to spicy food to warm up everything. This would most definitely be a night to remember.
Walking in from the frigid cold weather, later that evening, into this small, cute and most importantly warm restaurant, I just perked up and it put a smile on my face. I was ready to order a Negroni as customary but I noticed the Cowboy Tears cocktail. Funny enough, this cocktail is essentially a white Negroni using mezcal and mastiha. It was the latter that peaked my interest as it appears you can only get this one from Greece and it functions as the sweet vermouth.
So with my first cocktail ordered, now was time to go through the menu. Everything looked so good so I figured this was going to be another order half the menu and take home situation. I settled on the surf clam ceviche, quesadilla, duck enmoladas and the Berkshire pork. I knew this was a lot of food but there is always lunch tomorrow. When my waiter came back, it turned out that this was a tasting menu experience which I was unaware of so I really did not have to think that hard. This was the case because I was seated in the back of the restaurant. I also had the wine pairing so I had a large mental sticky note that a workout was a must the next day at five am. Anyway let us get started here, shall we?
I had a sparkling pairing with the snacks. It was a moscato blend that did not have the sweetness thankfully though the wine did taste natural. The snacks comprised of the beef tartare on what looked like a cracker with a decadent creamy base element. I tend to steer clear of beef tartare because it is way too easy to get wrong but this was done right. The sharpness of its flavor was contrasted beautifully with the richness of the cream base. With the wine it had a funny tingling sensation in the mouth, almost like you were drinking beer. I was delighted that this was as fun to enjoy as it was delicious to eat. The next snack was a chicharron layered crisp stuffed with what tasted like a fish that I cannot readily identify. It gave flavors of the normal fatty element that is customary of Chicharron with a fun finish of seaside freshness. You all know by now that I love my delicious dishes that are fun to eat and keep me guessing. This was surely a win.
Next was the potato udon with dashi and shimeji mushrooms. These are three ingredients that I can never say no to and I mean who would ever want to say no? This was paired with a full bodied and creamy white from Catalunya. It looked deep colored like it had had some skin contact and aged for a decent amount of time. The dashi of the udon was to die for and the mushrooms were a perfect pairing. The udon was firm and unlike regular udon but still tasty. A win is to be had here for sure and I must say that vegetables never tasted so good.
The next dish was paired with a red wine that both smelled and tasted natural which I am really not a fan of. However, it did not make me sick, as is normal for me when I drink natural wine, so all was well in the world. The next dish was the tartare of yellow beets and sunchoke ajauchille. This dish I found to be a refreshing palate cleanser from the udon. Having the beets with the red onion placed above was absolutely divine to taste and I loved how all taste of the naturalness of the wine was removed when paired. This dish was another win for the house.
At this point, I could not help but think to myself how far this restaurant surpasses Cosme that I had just visited last week. This place, if they continue their trajectory, is one to be reckoned with.
The next wine was sherry from Andalusia and that immediately made me nostalgic of my visit there. I really want to visit the region again soon, so maybe an adventure after my Kilimanjaro hike. The next dish was the grilled mahi with mole and corn. I also got the tortilla with negro butter that I had been eyeing while I was looking at the a la carte menu. I had the tortilla and butter first. The tortilla was hot, the butter rich and the flavors combined surpassed any normal bread basket and butter that you would get at another fine dining restaurant. My excitement led me to the fish which was definitely food orgasm worthy with it being seared and cooked to perfection. I dare say this can be a Le Bernadin menu item… it is that good.
I was starting to truly relax after the last dish and that is when my ears tuned in to the music… they were playing Fela. Fela, for those who do not know, is the greatest Nigerian musician that ever lived and his influence on the music industry worldwide is undeniable. It felt good to listen to this as I ate as I had noticed this trend of Nigerian music in restaurants across New York.
My first thought when I saw the next dish was that it was sautéed asparagus but it was not. This just had a tail end that looked like asparagus but was essentially Chinese broccoli that had flavors of spinach but sturdier. The sauce that came on top of it had a spicy kick to it but not overwhelmingly so. It was more creamy sriracha than habanero. The baby onions that were placed on top also added an interesting “spice” bite to all the other flavors on the plate. This really is how vegetables should be made.
The next dish was one that I had been waiting for all night. It was the grilled duck breast with refried beans and duck jus. I appreciated the perfect temperature with my eyes before eating. I saw the opportunity to taste each of the components individually, which I had been unable to on the other dishes, so I seized the day. Every component tasted nice individually but there was nothing mind blowing unfortunately. Now enjoying everything together, you have ecstasy. It is all about highs and lows on flavor for this plate. The high is the fat of duck skin with perfect temperature of the flesh and then the low (not in a bad way) is the grounding flavor of the refried beans. And finally add in the jus which rebalances all flavors to perfect balance. All in all, a win is to be had here.
The duck was the last of the savory courses but I was SO NOT READY for this tasting menu to end. I attempted to slow things down by settling into my tortilla and butter but that too came and went too fast. “Oh well I guess it is on to desserts for me”, I thought to myself. The pairing for the dessert tasted like a mezcal but more bitter. The dessert was a coffee caramel ice cream with nuts and that pairing made sense. Upon tasting, the shot flared up but did not burn. It was more a flare up of awareness of its depth and intricacy than anything else. The ice cream also had what looked like chocolate and vanilla cookies atop but in truth, I was satisfied without due to my lack of a sweet tooth.
So that was the end of my visit to Corima. It goes without saying that I will be a regular guest as I understand they change their menu frequently which I love with restaurants.
Ven a comer y disfrutar!