Most of the city’s great steakhouses are incredibly old-school and traditional:  Peter Luger, Sparks, The Post House, Frankie & Johnnie’s, Smith & Wollensky, Palm, Delmonico’s.  The farthest nods toward modernity are Del Frisco’s, Arlington Club and STK.  Costata is something else entirely, however:  it has the look of a posh eatery somewhere in Kensington.  While it does have the de rigeur dark woods, they are offset by colorful modern art by Nasser Azam that is bounced around in the copious mirrors; the bar glows from the illumination of hanging beads behind liquor bottles; there is elegant stemware and plating on white tablecloth, Murano chandeliers, walls of wine caves and sophistication in spades.  It is the city’s first truly contemporary steakhouse, retaining a bone structure of masculinity and clubbiness, with a modern face of vibrancy and glamour.

It is also an emotional homecoming for chef and restaurateur Michael White, who first made his NYC debut at this same SoHo townhouse over a decade ago at Fiamma.  The best pasta on the menu, the Garganelli Alla Fiamma con speck, radicchio, truffle cream, is a holdover from those days, a magisterially rich and creamy demonstration of White’s deftness with pasta.  Also worth an order is the semolina cavatelli with braised oxtail and fontina.  As at Marea, there is a selection of crudos to start the meal, of which the sea scallop and red prawns are the best.

Costata, of course, means ribeye in Italian, and it is the 40-ounce Tomahawk ribeye for two that is the restaurant’s signature cut.  Creekstone Farms Black Angus Beef is grass-fed and corn-finished before being aged 40-60 days, basted with melted dry-aged beef trim, subjected to a 1,900-degree broiler and garnished with a selection of sauces, including an excellent béarnaise and bordelaise.  It is smoky, tender and buttery.  We took the bone home afterwards and gnawed it into submission.

Deserving of special mention is the restaurant’s wine program.  In addition to the standard 20+ wines by the glass, Costata serves a selection of premium wines by the glass, which have been preserved via coravin.  Though they don’t come cheap, you will rarely have the opportunity to partake of so fine a wine with so good a steak without ordering a full bottle, which may be prohibitively expensive.  Consider for a moment the following ethereal potential pairings:  a 2005 premier cru Chablis (Let Forêts) from Domaine François Raveneau with your oysters and crudo; a 2000 Tuscan Brunello di Montalcino Riserva from Case Basse di Soldera with your Tomahawk.  There is a 1998 second wine from Bordeaux estate Léoville Las Cases, a second growth grand cru; a 2003 Bruno Giacosa Barolo, premier cru burgundy from Domaine Dujac, a 2003 Tenuta San Guido “Sassicaia” and on and on.  Why won’t more restaurants do this?  Everything seems to be calculated to perfection; it is such a pleasure to eat at a restaurant where the restaurateur is such a consummate pro.


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206 Spring St.
New York (nr. Sixth Ave.)
    Michael White, Chef
    PJ Calapa, Executive Chef
    Robert Truitt, Pastry Chef