Chef Michael White is a well-known chef who, through the Altamarea Group, has seven restaurants in Manhattan. These restaurants are fairly wide in scope, ranging from his 2 Michelin Star flagship Italian seafood restaurant Marea, to his pizzeria Nicoletta, to his American supper club The Butterfly. My favorite of these is Costata, and while it is his steakhouse concept, I find that it combines some of my favorite things from his other restaurants as well. The majority of entree choices are various cuts of steak, but Costata also brings a great selection of crudo and pasta, comparable in quality to his more famous restaurant, Marea. And while the prices in general are on the high end, the portions are very large, giving off a sense of value much more like his rustic and casual Osteria Morini.
It's hard to call an expensive restaurant owned and operated by a well-known chef underrated, but it was relatively empty when we went on an early Friday evening. It could be because of the summer, although NYC restaurants may just be struggling in general, but the lack of customers may have contributed to us getting very friendly and attentive service.
FOCACCIA, WHIPPED LARDO
There are no dainty amuses here. This is a steakhouse and even the bread and dip sets the tone that it'll probably be a fairly heavy meal.
The composition of this crudo reminded me a lot of the marlin crudo at Marea, and this was just as excellent. I really enjoyed the relatively softer texture of the fluke here, as I often think of fluke as being too resistant when I bite into it.
The truffle smell is evident as soon as the dish hits the table. Classic flavor combinations, and just so good with the sweet scallop. It's a pretty impressive plate in terms of portion, and felt like great value.
This was perfectly executed, with great texture from the well cooked seafood highlighting the delicious marriage of simple flavors. At a comparable price point, I find this much superior to more common steakhouse seafood starter staples such as shrimp cocktail or crab cakes.
ROMAINE CACIO E PEPE; ANCHOVIES, AGED PARMIGIANO, CRISPY CAPERS ($17)
INSALATA VERDE; HARICOTS VERTS, PICKED HERBS, RICOTTA, LEMON ($15)
Two of my friends ordered salads and enjoyed them very much, while I was more surprised once again at the generous portion sizes.
CAULIFLOWER; LEEK PESTO
CRISPY RED BLISS POTATOES; GARLIC, ROSEMARY, CHILI FLAKES
HEN OF THE WOODS; PARSLEY BUTTER
ARTICHOKES ALLA GUIDEA; LEMON, PARSLEY (vegetable sides $10 each)
All the vegetables were excellent, but my favorites were the very addictive fried artichokes and the nice crackly crispiness of the red bliss potatoes. I thought they provided better texture contrasts to steaks than mashed potatoes or fries.
If you happen to have a friend who likes a well done filet of beef, they do a perfectly cooked version.
FIORENTINA; PORTERHOUSE 40oz ($122)
All the steaks at Costata are aged a minimum of 40 days, and the minerally tang definitely comes through. The porterhouse had excellent flavor on both sides, and I really liked the small touches with the grilled lemon and bouquet of herbs.
AFFOGATO; ESPRESSO, RAMAZOTTI AMARO, FIOR DI LATTE GELATO ($10)
A tasty affogato, but I still prefer the one at Marea.
While Marea and Ai Fiore are probably the most ambitious of his restaurants, I find that I am more likely to recommend Costata to people over them. The food is delicious and well executed, the portions considerable, and while there may not be as many super highs, there's also a much much lower chance of a miss. It's also a great restaurant for many eaters with different preferences to dine together, as you can make a wide range of great meals from salad and steak to pasta and crudo or even just a combined selection of excellent vegetable side dishes.
206 Spring St
Manhattan, NY 10012
Bonus pictures from a previous visit shortly after they opened:
The current menu no longer lists it as aged.
The scallop slices seemed thicker back when they first opened compared to my most recent visit.
The original Michael White signature pasta. The pasta itself was great as expected, but I think some of the other flavor combinations on the current menu sound even better.
The namesake steak was also excellent, and to me it's really a matter of personal preference (for cut) which steak to choose.