Sun-Mon, 5pm-10pm; Tue-Thu, 5pm-11pm; Fri-Sat, 5pm-11:30pm
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You could be forgiven for thinking, as one of my guests did, that Michael White’s formulaic new Soho steakhouse, Costata, looks unsettlingly like the dining room of a lobbyists’ restaurant in Washington, D.C. The walls in the beige-toned space are covered with the kind of generic wood paneling that you see in corporate meeting rooms and on the first-class “business” floors of airport hotels. The tables are set with rumpled linen, and the lighting, which emanates from circular, Ikea-style lampshades dangling overhead, is weirdly flat, like in the showroom of a shoe store at your local mall. The chairs in the half-filled room look like they’ve been rummaged from a suburban hotel somewhere far out beyond the Beltway, and many were occupied, on the evenings I dropped in, with great, walrus-size gentlemen dressed in gray business suits, all yelling at each other at the tops of their lungs.
Costata (“rib eye” in Italian) is the eighth new venture Michael White has opened with the financier Ahmass Fakahany in the past six years, and it’s clear from the menu here that his repertoire is beginning to wear thin. The meagerly portioned pasta “side dishes” are prosaic by White’s lofty standards, and, in the case of a watery serving of squid-ink casarecci, borderline inedible. The raw-fish crudi are decent enough (try the sardines and the tuna), although you’ll find a much better selection uptown at White’s flagship restaurant, Marea. The Colorado lamb chops I sampled were devoid of proper lamby taste, so stick to the steaks, in particular the porterhouse-style Fiorentina cut, which is almost worth the extravagant $58-per-person sticker price. The desserts, by former Corton pastry chef Robert Truitt, are a step up from the usual steakhouse grind, and if you’re in a festive mood, the one to get is the gelato alla meringa, constructed with a soft block of vanilla sponge cake, spoonfuls of poached rhubarb, and a twirling meringue top.
The 25-page wine list contains a nice selection of beefy, big-money Italian reds, provided you have the resources.Recommended Dishes
Seafood “mare” salad, steak Fiorentina for two, gelato with meringue.