Corton is one of the hottest place in town at the moment, I've been trying to get a reservation with no luck, but somehow last week when I was clicking around opentable, I found a reservation for 6 on a Thursday night! Hi ho, hi ho, to Corton we go!
The space that Corton now occupy used to be Montrachet, which I went to many many years ago and remembered the food being good and refined. I am not sure what happened to Montrachet, but with rockstar executive chef Paul Liebrandt (who used to work at Restaurant Marco Pierre White & Pierre Gagnaire amongst others) manning the kitchen at Corton, that sounds like a winning recipe, no?
I started the night with the delicious salted seaweed butter & sweet butter on my thinly sliced craberry toasted bread. They also gave us small savoury choux pastries with cheese (gougère) & vegetable sponge breads (génoise) prior to our appetizers. The amuse bouche was cooked hamachi (yellow tail) on top of a permesan crackers.
I picked the "Vou-la-vant" as my appetizer. A typical voulavent is a small puff pastry with savory fillings. The voulavent I had was completely deconstructed, with a few rings of puff pastries on top of crayfish, morrel mushrooms and foam. I wish I wrote down all the ingredients because it was so interesting and intricate. Every bite tasted different, it was complex, yet it worked.
I also tried the foie gras with hibiscus, beet gelée & blood orange, that was relatively less impressive; meanwhile the "Flavors of Early Spring" which consisted of crab meat, durade & scallops (3 different plates) looked nothing like what it should be - figuring out what was really in the food was like solving a crime mystery.
For entrée, I had the John Dory & Diver Scallop with Tokyo turnip, white miso purée, black olive & dried orange. This was in-cre-di-ble. I especially loved the french curry sauce that complemented the fish, but the biggest surprise to me was the side dish of squid gnocchi with cheese, the squid taste was very subtle, and dare I say, I liked the gnocchi even more than the main plate.
Lastly, for dessert, I had the brioche with passion fruit, coffee & banana. The black square in the picture is the coffee - imagine putting a piece of paper thin coffee in your mouth with it melting on your tongue...mmmm....the brioche was coated in caramel with a dollop of passion fruit sauce in the middle and caramelized banana, and strangely, there was a small piece of cheese which was a bit puzzling. I also tried the chocolate fondant and oh man, it's a complete chocgasm. The Vacherin (meringue crisps) with pineapple, earl grey, rhubarb & honeydew was so light and refreshing, and visually stunning.
There were some hits and some misses but it was overall good. The wine we picked, which was an in house wine - Corton Rouge Edmond Cornu Aloxe-Corton ‘Valozières’ Premier Cru 2004 (thanks HC) was light & yummy. Paul Liebrandt is an ambitious guy, and it's apparent in the food. Corton is technically a French restaurant, but the ingredients he used was truly international. I appreciate his drive to push the envelop, and he succesfully did so. I read a few of the interviews with him, seems like a funny & eccentric guy. Unfortunately he didn't let us take pictures of him in the kitchen, not sure if he was shy or he was not in a good mood. Mr. Liebrandt, come on now, that baby face of yours need to be on camera more often.
All Corton Photos here
Address: Corton, 239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013
8 months ago