We walked into Corton last night and Fred turns to me and says " this is a really adult place ". I laughed and said, " yes, it is". The minute I sat down I knew immediately why my hipster 30 year old foodie friend said to me, "the place is boring". It might be boring but the food is absolutely sublime.
Corton is located in the old Montrachet space. Even Drew Nierpont was there last night making sure the restaurant was running smoothly. Drew, who is in many ways a celebrity, by being there managing his place, makes you realize thatat the end of the day he is just a restaurateur…and a very good one at that.
The lighting is low and glows. The decor is simple. The walls are white washed with raised branches and flowers as the decor on the walls. Very subtle. Tables can be no larger than 6. There probably isn't a person in there under 35. This is a place to go for something special. Nierpont is very smart. The menu is a prix fix of $79 a person but has all the added specials that one gets in a high end restaurant. This is the new high end restaurant.
We had an 830 seating. I thought the 6 would be too early. The only problem with the 830 seating is we didn't get out of there until 1130. They take their time and let you savor the moment. That's ok but a bit tough on a Wednesday night.
The first thing out for us to kick off the meal are 2 little bite sized treats. Gourgeres served warm with a shot of liquid cheese in the middle. Different and delicious. Then the other bite was a layered squash sponge cake, the size of your thumb with a Japanese spice. I love how the server describes the squash and the spice ( can't remember the name ) like we have all heard of it and it is part of our daily vocabulary. I guarantee it wasn't theirs until they came to work at Corton. That bite wasn't as interesting. Strange actually.
We order and they bring out some different breads. All small, which I liked. Thinly sliced rye bread with pieces of dried cranberry and pistachios. Love. The other two were tiny baguettes of a classic French bread and then one with olives in it. At this point we got the first kick off from the chef to begin our meal. A small soup in a cup. A lightly curried flavored cauliflower soup that was rich yet foamy at the same time. At the bottom of the cup was fois gras. Unbelievable. Rich, tasty and I love the hidden treat at the bottom when you dig in.
Funny enough, all 6 of us, almost stayed with the same order. Obviously what appealed to this crowd. Fred had the hamachi which unfortunately I didn't get to taste but he loved. One other person had the squid soup. A bowl of roasted squid and pieces of chorizo on the bottom of the bowl, then over the top they pour a rich egg soup with a pheasant consomme. It was super rich and delicious. The rest of us had the salad. This particular salad was written up in NY Mag as the best salad of the year. Completely agree. Totally deconstructed. I wouldn't be surprised if every single vegetable on the plate, including some fruit (Japanese pears) were all roasted or prepared separately. Then everything was put together with herbs. The flavor comes out different on each bite. I'd eat that salad every night.
Next round was dinner. People went with either the turbot or the lobster. I had the turbot. Woah. A rectangular piece of turbot, cooked to perfection, with a very light rectangular, almost see through, brioche crust. Brioche, although heavy, this was not. Just a light crispy addition. The plate had roasted sweet onion, tiny pieces of razor clams but it might have been little cheese balls with a light clam sauce. I could have picked up the plate and licked it at the end. Divine. Everyone else had the lobster. The plate alone was picture perfect. The plate came with a bowl on the side of a rich lobster like bisque. The tail sat among a variety of different vegetables and a balsamic grapefruit glaze. A deconstructed plate too.
Our palette needed a cleansing, so says the chef. Out came a small bowl of coconut sorbet which also had a surprise at the bottom of dried cherries and niblets of dark chocolate. Fantastic. We were all over the place on dessert. I tasted the caramel brioche, Fred had the cheese plate ( lots ), someone else had the honey crisp apple, someone else the dark chocolate and I went with the classic French vacherin. Of course, this had a twist. Roasted pieces of pineapple and 2 thin slices of meringue creating an ice cream sandwich around a pineapple gelato all infused with earl grey and a crispy piece of roasted thinly sliced fennel. I was only going to taste but in the end polished off the entire dessert. I just had to.
Of course, more goodies come out to really push you over the top. Circular, very thin, pieces of dark and light chocolate infused with cherry sitting in crushed chocolate. Melts on your tongue. A choice of different macaroons which looked like they came straight out of Paris filled with many things including passion fruit. Then there were handmade chocolates. Each sounded better than the next. One struck me so I had to just have a bite. Smoked hazelnut chocolate with a mousse. Omigod. And then, I was done. They gave us a small bag of cookies go bring home too.
Corton is a welcome addition to the restaurant scene. I really am looking forward to returning. Need to find a special occasion but then again, maybe any occasion will do.