Al Coro is a restaurant built for celebrating, but there’s no occasion needed to dine at this upscale Italian spot.
Scoring a reservation is enough of a win given that the kitchen is led by famed chef Melissa Rodriguez, whose celebrated Del Posto restaurant was in the same space before Al Coro opened in 2022. Her success has been swift: The restaurant has already earned two MICHELIN Stars and was a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Best New Restaurant award in 2023.
Al Coro follows fine-dining convention with a prix-fixe dinner but lets diners take charge of their own party. Carb-lovers can opt for the pasta-tasting menu and others can choose between an a la carte menu, plus two bars to eat and drink at.
1. One of the city’s top fine-dining dinners
Decision making can be exhausting; Al Coro’s tasting menu lets diners unwind, relax, and just politely stuff their faces.
There’s a five-course ($210) or seven-course ($265) meal with the option of adding a wine pairing ($115 or $165, respectively). Diners make a few choices such as choosing between fish or red meat, and a chocolate or fruit dessert, but the kitchen largely takes the reins with dishes such as langoustine crudo and rabbit ragu.
Expect a few unlisted surprises along the way (hint: freshly baked, round country bread to start the meal).
2. A la carte for a more affordable night out
Groups of four or fewer can go a slightly more affordable route with the three-course a la carte menu.
The $135 per person meal includes an antipasti, primi, and secondi (or dolci course), and everyone at the table gets to do their own thing (this isn’t family style).
Crudos star among the antipasti, pastas such as agnolotti in brodo make up primi, and heartier entrees including steelhead trout in carpione (a tangy marinade) are part of the secondi showcase.
There are enough exciting desserts to make diners reconsider going the secondi route. Recent highlights include hazelnut yuzu panna cotta and a caramel coffee tart with chocolate semifreddo.
3. A rare Italian pasta-tasting experience
Italian pasta-tasting menus are few and far between in NYC, and the one at Al Coro is inspired by old-school Italian classics such as linguine with clams.
The $125-per-person affair showcases housemade pastas Rodriguez creates alongside pasta whiz Carlos Perdomo. The former mechanic-turned-pasta-chef uses his decade of hands-on kitchen experience to craft unique shapes to pair with creative riffs on beloved sauces.
“Pasta sits at the center of everything we do at Al Coro,” Rodriguez says. “This [pasta tasting] is not just a series of random dishes. The preparations are carefully chosen to create the best progression, showcase variety, and above all to be exceedingly delicious.”
Highlights include braised-green-stuffed tortellini in capon brodo with black truffles that’s as luxurious as it is comforting and shell-like culurgiones with creamy fontina and potatoes topped with tart, herb-flecked lemon butter and briny golden caviar.
“The Culurgione with caviar is amongst our most favored dishes,” Rodriguez says. “I love this dish. It is rustic and elegant all at once which is something I always strive for.”
4. Two bars, two very different vibes
A very luxe, photogenic marble staircase leads to Al Coro’s basement bar, Discolo. Walk-ins are welcome at the 1970s-themed cocktail club, which doesn’t require a dinner reservation at the restaurant above. Expect classic drinks in elegant glassware, plenty of fancy ice cubes, and a live DJ most nights.
Al Coro’s back bar and lounge on the ground floor offers a quieter alternative to the underground party. There’s wine, cocktails, small bites, and the entire a la carte menu to choose from.
“There are many options for dining casually at the bar,” Rodriguez says. “We offer our pasta tasting at the bar as well.”
Hot tip: the bar is right below where the musicians perform, meaning a seat here is ideal for a solo night out or for a nightcap with a companion.
Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner is a writer based in Brooklyn, where she lives with her wife and rescue dog. You can follow her on Instagram @melissabethk and Twitter @melissabethk