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Corima

Christine Drinan, Founder

I am a big fan of Mexican food, but yet the restaurants in NYC that in my opinion do it justice, are few and far between. I’m sure that my view of Cosme as just ok is an unpopular one too.  So when I heard that a chef from the famed Mexico City Contra was opening up in the too cool for school Dimes Square area, I was hopeful. This is the review of Corima.

Atmosphere

Corima sits on Allen Street, exactly a block and a half where Chinatown and the Lowest East side significantly get more upscale. You can actually see Nine Orchard across the street. With that said, Corima remains on the gritty side of Allen. For me though, it was like an indication of street cred that they would be serving up life-changing Mexican cuisine. There’s nothing I like more than a Michelin-level hole in the wall joint. That theme continues when you walk into a clean yet sparse dining room. There’s little design put into the restaurant; mainly plain wooden seats, tables and exposed brick walls. However, with all the reviews and the chef pedigree, Corima had all the potential to be a sleeper hit for foodies.

During the week the earlier seatings in the bar are fairly open, though the dining room is usually sold out. On the weekends, the place is packed to the gills everywhere from open to close. The crowd ranges from serious looking foodies to a typical Downtown crowd. There are couples on dates and groups of friends, though I wouldn’t say that it was a good people-watching crowd. Just good normal people, looking to eat.

Food  + Beverage

There are two options to dine at Corima; an a la carte and a tasting menu. My friends and I opted for the front room a la carte experience, as the 10 courses was a bit much for our appetites. The tasting menu though was good value at $98/per person given the cost of dining nowadays. The tasting menu is the only option available in the back dining room. However if you do ask nicely they try to accommodate you if possible in the bar area too.

Corima a la Carte

On the a la carte menu, which is completely unique from the tasting, there were about 15 or so items the evening we dropped in. We ordered six of those, where the starters indicated to us that we were in for a special meal. The items were simple – their signature sourdough tortilla, a salad and a hamachi. The execution though was a level up. The sourdough tortilla lived up to the hype and was light and springy, served along side a black butter. We ordered a second immediately.

The hamachi was beautifully presented with red onions and tiny almost pickled mushrooms and a chicharron furikake. They graciously put the furikake on the side without any attitude at all. To me that shows that the chef is flexible, which was also a good sign. The salad came out with thinly sliced pears, grapes on a crisp romaine lettuce and the perfect thinly grated cheese on top. There was not a thing we would change about our first course, and we were pumped for the mains.

Cocktails + Wine

Before I go into the mains, I’ll touch on the drinks briefly. I had the Sakura Martini and it wasn’t either good nor bad. The wines by the glass list are limited. I didn’t recognize most of the wines on the bottle list, where I applaud places that try to make their lists creative. However if the glasses were any indication, I’m unsure if the bottles would impress. After our glass of wine my brave friend went back to cocktails and I just went with water.

Onto the Dinner Course

Before I go into my experience, I love places like Corima. In no way am I trying to dissuade anyone from giving it a shot. However, I’m going to nutshell this; the meal rapidly went downhill. The often mentioned quesadilla that supposedly had truffle was unremarkable. I would say flavorless but I’m saving that for the lobster sopas. The blue corn was heavy and bland, and if I was blindfolded I would not be able to taste the lobster. It was in there though, which is why I’m still puzzled.

The Boston mackerel was so fishy even for my more tolerant dining companions and served with peas that looked and tasted overcooked. This dish also went more than half uneaten. I immediately suggested to my friends that we leave to do dessert at the new Kin Gin in the Hotel Rivington. We left feeling grateful we didn’t subject ourselves to the tasting experience.

Service

Of all the components that make up Corima, the service was the strongest. It wasn’t a weekend so my third last minute friend was graciously accommodated. The waitstaff were attentive and highly knowledgeable about the menu in a notably detailed way. Our server could describe each dish with such vivid picture and knew what could and couldn’t be modified for my pescatarian diet. Food came out well-timed and in a way that makes sense, which nowadays is not always the case. Our beverages were never empty and the overall team seemed to work together seamlessly through our meal.

Overall 6.9/10

A 7 on my scale is a place I would come back to.

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FAQs

Q: Where is Corima located?

A: Corima is located at 3 Allen St, New York, NY 10002 in the Chinatown area of New York City.

Q: What are Corima’s hours of operation?

A: The hours of operation at Corima are as follows:

Friday
  • 5:30–10 PM
Saturday
  • 5:30–10 PM
Sunday
  • Closed
Monday
  • Closed
Tuesday
  • 5:30–10 PM
Wednesday
  • 5:30–10 PM
Thursday
  • 5:30–10 PM

Q: What kind of food does Corima serve?

A: Corima serves Northern Mexican cuisine.

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