The Milan export opened in the Seaport District this September.
Founded in Milan in 1991, the original 10 Corso Como was the brainchild of Carla Sozzani, a fashion editor who wanted to create a space that embodied the idea of a "living magazine." Sozzani built an eclectic, glam complex with an art gallery, design store, restaurant, and café, and in the decades that followed, spin-off locations opened in Seoul, Shanghai, and Beijing, each with their own aesthetic (and menu) but an unmistakable Italian identity. This September, 10 Corso Como opened its doors in New York's Seaport District, its space occupying the 28,000-square-foot first floor of the Fulton Market Building—a physical grandeur that Manhattan can rarely accomodate.
While the idea of 10 Corso Como has already proved viable in markets around the world, the New York project is particularly ambitious. For one, the city doesn't really need another Italian restaurant. But as you realize upon entering the joyously chic, appealingly over-designed space, 10 Corso Como is not just another Italian restaurant. It is Italian, and it is a restaurant. You get the feeling it was scooped from an elegant Milan palazzo, transported across the Atlantic, and plopped down in Manhattan. The restaurant's design, just like that of the store, is eclectic, chic, and bright, which makes it the ideal place to sip an Aperol spritz well into the winter.
The chefs at the new 10 Corso Como, Jordan Frosolone and Danilo Galati, are both deeply experienced in the art of la cucina italiana. (Galati is Italian, too, and Frosolone's extended family is from Sicily.) The food isn't just Northern Italian, which you might expect based on the franchise's Milan roots, though the obligatory risotto Milanese and gnocchi burro e salvia make appearances on the menu, and are two of the strongest items.
Frosolone says that there are very few similarities, in fact, between specific dishes at the location in Milan and those at the new location here—one of the few repeats appears to be the classic "Risotto Corso Como," which is served with citrus, tomato, and black olive. But the culinary ethos of all the locations align—simple, well-executed food that channels Italian grandmothers in its reverence for ingredients.
To spot classic vitello tonnato on a menu, without any modernization, is thrilling. (Vitello tonnato, a cold dish of sliced veal covered with a creamy tuna-flavored sauced, is not trendy or pretty or easily findable in New York.) What sets the food at 10 Corso Como apart is not the level of cooking—which is high, though matched by many of the city's Italian restaurants—but the distinctly Italian spirit: elegant, but a little goofy; quality, but a little retro.
The flavors are spot-on, too, and the dishes, devoid of ego. The spaghetti al pomodoro, one of the simplest yet most ingredient-reliant dishes in Italian canon, dazzles with just tomato sauce and precisely al dente noodles. The caprese salad is straightforward and lovely, sans any balsamic drizzle nonsense. The clean, tomato-brothed zuppa di pesce reminds me of summers in Gaeta, Italy, visiting my family.
Is 10 Corso Como the best new Italian restaurant in New York? Maybe not—but that's the wrong question. Is is the most Italian restaurant in New York? Quite possibly.
10 Corso Como, 1 Fulton St, New York, NY. (212) 265-9500.