F&F: Corsino Cantina

October 27th, 2009 by Dick Johnson


PX This presents THE F&F REVIEW

Hey, sorry we couldn’t make it to "Friends&Family," we were out of town/ had to work/ not invited. We’re really glad we finally managed to come by, though— it’s so nice to see you!
What’s that? You would still like us to take the time to fill out the F&F survey, because you’d love to take advantage of all our vast experience, knowledge, insight, and expertise as long as we’re already here? Because you invited 75 people to F&F, and afterward all you got was 41 "Congrats[es]!" 22 "Awesome[s]!" 3 "Ciao[s]!" and 9 "Best of lucks[s]!" ?
Of course, we’d be honored. Oh ha, yesss, we’ll be honest— brutally honest even, ha ha! After all, that’s what friends & family are for!
No no please, don’t send anything more, we’re stuffed, we can’t breathe, you’ll have to roll us out of here, ha ha ha… !

Corsino Cantina

What was your first impression?
Yeah, that’s what Fredericks did all wrong; the bar was too small.

Please rate the Bar:
It’s completely disorganized, but it’s likely that will improve with time. Clearly, this bar was built with the intention of making it more of a dining counter than a true bar, which is something that evidently Italian restaurants have a tendency to do. This always then seems to extend to the seating policy of the bar, which usually results in more of a waiting list seating strategy than traditional first-come-first-served. Suddenly the bartenders are all Maitre d’s and Captains — snooty French attitude included (See: Babbo, Otto, Casa Mono) — which, in this case, is pretty rich coming from a couple of people who clearly haven’t quite yet managed to get their shit together.

Please rate the drinks/ cocktails/ wine:
The wine selections are nice and very reasonably priced. The carafino is obviously a good choice for this current economy. (Yes, Frank Bruni hated the carafino/quartino, but that’s because he’s an idiot.) Does Corsino even have a full liquor license? I forgot to check, but I doubt it. Wait, they snatched up Fredericks, so they must. So, those bartenders have to play hostess, serve dinner, pour wine and make cocktails? Oh Lord, better throw another half dozen people back there to help out.

Please rate the Dining Room:
Overcrowded for now, but that will likely change once they settle in. Pulling out all the banquettes that were in the former restaurant was a good idea considering the downscaled ambience, but there’s too much wasted space in the room for such spare square footage. Someone with more experience in high volume would definitely have done it differently and more efficiently.

Please rate the BOH:
Very slow, but again, likely to improve over time. Does a BOH even exist? What with all the food prep going on behind the bar, it looks like most of the BOH is in the FOH.


How was the staff?
The hostess was nice but nervous, probably mostly because she had no clue what was going on at the bar, or if she was even allowed to offer the bar as a waiting area ("I thiiiiink there’s a waiting list for the bar??"). The bartenders can both suck it, and they do. The waiter was OK; we didn’t put him through the wringer and we were easy customers. The food was slow in arriving, but that wasn’t his fault. He was friendly, but seemed a little overwhelmed, which was understandable considering all the growing pains. Runners/bussers were fine; one was even very friendly and nicely apologized for the missing silverware.

What did you eat?/ How was the food?
Olive Tapenade Crostini: Fine. But let’s face it — screw this up, and I’m outta here.
Risotto Croquette: Meh. A little bland. Boring; glorified Riceball. Definitely not worth $10.
Frutti di Mare : Much better. Nice sized portion, reasonably fresh, tasty enough. This dish is only $2 more than the Croquette. Now I’m even more pissed I got hosed on the Croquette.
Prosciutto: Slices are way too thick considering that fancy, hi-fi, very expensive slicer taking up all that bar space. Cosmo Kramer would have done a better job on his shoes.
Broccoli Rabe, Anchovy and Mozzarella Panini: Canned brown anchovy paste? Blech. Would have been nice if the rabe was more chopped, considering it’s a sandwich. But better than a grilled cheese from the deli, I guess. But at these prices, it’s no Bar Pitti.
Fusilli with Sausage and Tomato : No. Unless you’re Giorgio Armani; he likes his (boxed) pasta very al dente and with very little sauce, and he’s Italian. To each his own.
Brussel Sprouts: Good. Better than most places. Interesting prep; chopped and loose.
3 Cheese Plate: Random selection. Fine, but considering the portion sizes, I’m sure glad we went with the better bargain 3/$13 than 1/$5. 1 very small portion for $5 would have been kind of ridiculous, but maybe that’s for the bread sticks.

What did you like?
The wine and brussel sprouts.

What did you dislike?
The bar overall. The pasta.

What was your last impression?
This is a neighborhood place, so now I’m feeling glad my neighborhood is someplace else with better choices than this. It’s too crowded; get me out of here.

Would you come back?
Not likely, but like I said, I live somewhere else.

Thank you, and hope to see you soon!
The mountain would have to come to me.



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