Oct 2009

Corton – New York City


My brother has averaged a visit a month to Corton since its doors opened last October. With endless dining options at his fingertips, my brother insists on returning here time and again because the food is phenomenal, the menu is constantly evolving, and the value is superb. Plus, being a regular has its perks. Although he’d prefer to keep Corton a secret, my brother is not alone in his affections. Frank Bruni dolled out three stars last December in the New York Times and most recently, Corton received two stars from the Michelin Guide in its 2010 edition.

Located in the heart of Tribeca, Corton is a partnership between renowned restaurateur Drew Nieporent (Tribeca Grill, Nobu, Nobu Fifty Seven, Nobu London, Next Door Nobu, Mai House, Centrico and Crush Wine & Spirits) and Chef Paul Liebrandt (Pierre Gagnaire, Bouley Bakery, Atlas, Gilt). Chef Liebrandt’s modern French menu melds the tradition of classical cuisine with a contemporary approach to ingredients and technique.

My brother treated The Astronomer and me to dinner at Corton during our week-long stay in New York. Arriving earlier than our dining mates, we grabbed two seats at the bar. I sipped a very potent Spencer (Cîroc vodka, Lillet, grapefruit juice, candied grapefruit), while The Astronomer drank an extremely manly Brazilian Breeze (Leblon Cachaça, pineapple, pomegranate). Both cocktails were $15.

As soon as I whipped out my camera to take happy snaps of our brilliantly-made adult beverages, the maître d’ swooped in to inform me that the restaurant has a no-photo policy. In my three years of covering restaurants on gas•tron•o•my, I have never encountered a situation like this before. I was mildly sad that I wouldn’t be able to share plate-by-plate details of the meal with the Internet, but excited to dine like a normal person for the first time in years! You win some, you lose some.


Corton offers a three-course prix fixe menu ($85), as well as a chef’s tasting menu ($135). My tablemates and I chose the three-course affair. We began our feast with two canapes and bread service. The first canape consisted of a bagel adorned with egg, caviar, and flecks of gold leaf, while the second one was a luscious foie gras mousse with tomatoes. The highlight of the bread service were the thin and crispy raisin toasts swathed in seaweed butter.

My foie gras appetizer with sour cherries, Chioggia beet, and Cataluña spice was sublimely executed. The preparation was so fantastic that it rivaled The French Laundry’s. If the torchon had been accompanied by luxurious slices of toasted and buttered brioche rather than ordinary toast points, Corton would’ve nudged ahead.

My entree of Maine lobster with heirloom beets, Parmesan crumble, and Bergamot orange ($6 supplement) wasn’t as life-affirming as the one I’d eaten the evening prior at Blue Hill, but seriously solid nevertheless. The hunk of tail was accompanied by succulent lobster knuckles.

Following a Kaffir lime sorbet, I indulged in Corton’s signature dessert, “brioche, passion fruit, coffee, banana.” The caramel brioche was topped with brioche ice cream, passion fruit “mayo,” and banana pâte de fruit.

What sets Chef Liebrandt’s style of cuisine apart from the fine dining pack are his “side dishes.” Two or more of these artfully plated flourishes accompany almost every appetizer, entree, and dessert. At times all of the different bowls and plates could barely fit on our tabletop. The Chef also likes to add various finishing touches, like pouring sauces and foams, right as the plate lands at the table.


When the mignardises arrived, my brother dared me to disobey the restaurant’s wishes and snap away. Corton’s selection of mignardises—handmade chocolates, truffles, and macarons—were some of the best I’ve ever encountered. Each delicate nibble was a thoughtful and delicious creation.

One of the perks of being a regular is not having to be modest. Restaurant Director Arleene Oconitrillo left the trays of beautiful mignardises at our table so that we wouldn’t have to choose which of the four different chocolates to indulge in. We could have them all! And we did.

239 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013
Phone: 212-219-2777

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15 thoughts on “Corton – New York City

  1. You have such a good attitude. I know food bloggers who would have flounced off in a pissy huff when told not to shoot inside. But not you! Nice.

  2. I’m glad you had such a terrific meal and enjoyed the Eric Cartman-style “side dishes.” Was the just-in-time pouring of the sauces well executed or gimmicky? Also, I know you had to enjoy the meal more in light of Corton’s sound policy of banning those infernal contraptions known as cameras from the dining room.

    See you next week.


  3. boo to no photo policies! i’ve yet to encounter that type of snootyness. most of the time, people offer to take photos for me! of me and/or my dining companions… and i always just say no thanks, i’m just taking pics of the food!

  4. I wish my brother still lived in New York. Can I borrow yours the next time I go visit? I promise I won’t hog all the chocolates!

  5. same brother who treated last time? awesome sounding meal, weird about the no camera thing – I’ve heard of restaurants in NY restricting photos… what is up with that? You’d think it would be a good thing (as long as you don’t blind your neighbors with your flash). lucky you to be able to gorge on those little treats at the end.

  6. You may need to be more discreet when 1st bringing out your Bazooka! Keep your pocket pt/shoot & ask questions later camera handy.
    Now, I can only try to imagine what the food was like.

  7. It seems like more and more restaurants in NYC are instituting no-photo policies – so irritating! Are they afraid of copycats, or something? As long as you’re not using the flash, I can’t see how photographing the food could possibly be a problem!

    Glad your meal was good, though.

  8. I just had a wonderful dinner there on Tuesday. I loved the playfulness of all those textures and flavors, and those lobster knuckles, too. One over zealous dining companion attempted to snap a photo with his phone but was swiftly reprimanded, to my delight.

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