Alive and Kicking at Convivio

So I hit a few restaurants the last couple of days - and I like to keep myself as anonymous as possible -because I think if they know you're coming in to review the place, you're not getting the regular service. That's why I wait a couple of days before posting my review. Just gives it that level of anonymity. Either that, or maybe I have some other things preoccupying my daytime life. Or perhaps it's a combo deal.

I still love food.

I enjoy NYC dining so much, too. It's like an addiction now. It's so insatiable. And once you get a taste of some of these places, it's hard NOT to become a regular!

Anyway, let's see.... Convivio. This place was not the easiest to get to, but who cares if the food is great, right?

I was treated very appropriately when I entered. Smiles, a friendly greeting and a helpful attitude was really appreciated. I sat down in the lounge/bar area for maybe 90 seconds before the host came to seat me and my date to the table.

My initial impression of the restaurant was quite favorable. I wasn't crazy about the decor, but realized that those types of things are very subjective anyway.

So as I was checking out the decorum, I noticed that it seemed to get kind of cramped in the space. I followed the host blindly and an older gentleman at a table tried to make room for me to get by him.... This was nice of him, but when his chair landed on my foot, it was anything but a kind way to be introduced to a new restaurant.

I kept from loudly screaming, because all of this man's weight on my big toe was very painful. There was a muffled yelp that emitted from my mouth and then I held my breath for a few moments as the heat of pain surged through my body. I survived the minor injury, but even as I type this blog post, the bruising is still visible and there's a slight tinge when walking in certain footwear.

That being said: Convivio is TOO CROWDED. Too many tables in the space they have available.

But the Maitre D' was quick to respond. He offered ice - but even better, he offered a high-end sparking wine, complements of the house and acknowledged that it wasn't a good way to not only start an evening, but to introduce himself.

Talk about friendly and prompt service!

I just smiled to keep from crying at that point - but I think the Italian version of Champagne was a good move on behalf of the restaurant... "A" for effort!

Convivio offered a prix fixe that evening that was really easy to select from their ample menu. I chose some olives as a starter (sfizi), the quaglia (quail) as an appetizer, Mezzaluna al tonno as my "primi" (first dish) and the sauteed lobster tail as my "secondi" (second dish). By far, the mezzaluna al tonno (tuna-tomato filled pasta) was my favorite of all of these delicious creations. It was so incredibly flavorful and not overcooked - too many restaurants don't have a clue about pasta - but Convivio was spot on with this dish. I also enjoyed the olives -ripe and anything but soggy. The lobster was also quite good, but I tried my date's meal, as well -and we ended up switching! He had the housemade duck sausage. It was served with some lentils -that really made this a mouth-watering savory surprise.

I didn't think I'd have room for dessert, but it was all a part of the 'prix fixe' - so I tried the gelato and sorbet; I asked the house to determine the choice of flavors for me. Chocolate, berry and marscapone were served - a portion for two people. I had to share and we both agreed that Convivio would be on our "must go again" list of restaurants in Midtown East.

I'd recommend Convivio to anyone looking for a fine dining experience and to not wear open-toed shoes until they figure out the table dynamics! The food is spectacular and quite affordable for the amount. Order the prix fixe to sample the menu at an unbeatable price for NYC.

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