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Good News/ Bad News Convivio

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Convivio, the newly made over space that was once L'Impero, has been open for just half a month. However that's been plenty of time for the user reviewers, foodies, bloggers, and even one Ruth Reichl to file their reports. We have to say, almost everything online about this place so far is glowing. We'll have to see what the major critics say in the next few months, but for now, here's the good news and the bad news:

1) The Great News: Ruth Reichl filed her review on Convivio just as it opened, and she gave it a rave: "...last night at the new Convivio...I fell head over heels for his food. Nobody else in New York is cooking these authentic Southern Italian dishes. The menu—4 courses for $59—starts in Rome and moves south. It’s filled with gutsy, flavor-forward food that comes rushing straight at you...Pastas are extraordinary. I’ll be going back just for the rigatoni." [Gourmet]

2) The OK News: eGullet has a meal play-by-play. The assessment? It's pretty good: "Restrained, elegant decor. Mostly older crowd...Service was very list by the glass is excellent...had a fried red mullet dish...interesting and good and I had the porchetta...the outer part was quite tasty but the center was unfortunately dry and overcooked. the only negative note in the entire's not revelatory but it is very good Southern Italian..a lot of it not really seen in NY. Definitely recommended." [eG]

3) The Bad News: Neither of the two users who reviewed the restaurant on Zagat were too thrilled. Here's the pan: "Would never go back. Once a top restaurant in the city is now gone - Convivio is certainly not it! Service atrocious. Unknowledgable staff, and misleading menu descriptions led to a very disappointing meal all around. The food was below average. Extremely disappointing, would never go back!" [Zagat]

4) The Good News: More good news from Citysearch: "I live in Tudor City so I thought I'd check out the 'new L'Impero'. Sat outside last week with a friend and had a variety of appetizers and the special of the day - the polpette. Everything we tried was excellent especially the arancini (riceballs). We had a great wine too I think called Grecco. Our waiter was very helpful and made us feel right at home which is exactly what I wanted out of my neighborhood restaurant. Although I have to say it would be 10 times nicer dining outside if they'd take the scaffolding down already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" [Citysearch]

5) The Good News: So far only one Chowhounder has weighed in, and we have an early fan: "...had dinner at convivio last night and am happy to report that we had a fantastic experience. there was a little bit of confusion while making the reservation, in part due to their (anachronistic?) desire that we fax them a form with a credit card number to hold the booked table....Convivio serves terrific, robust southern italian cuisine. the polipetti antipasto features perfectly braised octopus on a bed of moist polenta...outstanding." [CH]
photo credit: Gothamist/Ryan Charles


45 Tudor City Place, New York, NY 10017 (212) 599-5045 Visit Website