NYCReview

photo credit: Kate Previte

A table topped with Mexican small plates next to a few ceramics planters.
7.8

Corima

MexicanExperimental

Chinatown

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightSpecial Occasions

At Corima, a record player rests in a nook of a distressed brick wall, servers in chore coats suggest five dishes for a party of two, and, all the way in the back, cooks tweeze at razor clams in a subway-tiled kitchen that features a binchotan and Pacojet.

If your shirt is now soaked in sweat, that’s good. It means you’ve developed the skills to sniff out a Trendy Small Plates Experience. In this case, however, you don’t need to break your lease and head for the hills.

A minimalist dining room with black chairs and plain wooden tables.

photo credit: Kate Previte

A dining room with a bar on one side and a few tables to the other.

photo credit: Kate Previte

A dark dining room with brick walls and an open kitchen at the back.

photo credit: Kate Previte

A minimalist dining room with black chairs and plain wooden tables.
A dining room with a bar on one side and a few tables to the other.
A dark dining room with brick walls and an open kitchen at the back.

This Chinatown restaurant does a unique, Northern Mexican-inspired take on the little-bites-with-big-dreams genre. The flavors are aggressive, the ingredients are diverse, and the requisite scallop crudo semi-successfully channels aguachile. In terms of places where you’ll spend $100+ on a la carte conversation starters, it’s a solid option. But the 10-course tasting is a much better value.

Corima’s $98 tasting takes place in the back—either at a table or the chef’s counter—and it’s where the restaurant does its best work. The menu changes by season, but it might involve a doughy sope topped with poached shrimp, head cheese draped over al dente ayacote beans, or buttery mackerel that’s been blasted on a grill and dressed with mole amarillo. It’s a good amount of food, but you can also order an internet-famous flour tortilla as a supplement. Surprisingly, it’s skippable.

A spread of Mexican-inspired small plates on a wooden table.

photo credit: Kate Previte

A floor tortilla folded in a bowl with a side of butter.

photo credit: Kate Previte

A small tostada topped with shredded cheese next to a little bowl of food with edible flowers on top.

photo credit: Kate Previte

A spread of Mexican-inspired small plates on a wooden table.
A floor tortilla folded in a bowl with a side of butter.
A small tostada topped with shredded cheese next to a little bowl of food with edible flowers on top.

Corima is best used for when you want to eat something new. The a la carte dishes aren’t very cost-effective, but the tasting is a relative deal—so swing by for a special meal that’ll restore your faith in restaurants that look like they grew up idolizing Momofuku Ko. No matter which route you go, try the fantastic uni gin sour. That’s something you won’t find at other small-plates spots.

Food Rundown

Menu Info

Both the a la carte and tasting menus at Corima get overhauled every few months. Below, you’ll find some items we’ve tried in the past, a few of which seem to make it through the seasonal roster cuts.
A few fancy snacks served on earth-toned ceramics.

photo credit: Kate Previte

Botanas

The first few tiny bites that kick off Corima’s tasting are always highlights. Expect things like a tostada with house-cured bottarga and shaved ricotta salata, or a masa porridge that’s thick as pudding, topped with edible flowers.
A sope topped with shrimp, peas, and herbs.

photo credit: Kate Previte

Shrimp Sope

No matter the season, the tasting typically involves a sope. Whether it comes topped with shrimp or cured kanpachi, it’ll be one of the highlights of your meal. The key is in the masa: It’s dense and crumbly, with a deep corn flavor.
A big folded flour tortilla in a bowl.

photo credit: Kate Previte

Sourdough Flour Tortilla

If you’ve heard of Corima, you’ve probably heard of this tortilla and how it’s made with flour imported from Northern Mexico. A very nice story, and a very good tortilla. But temper your expectations. Wide and springy as it is, this is not something you need to go out of your way for.
A tlayuda topped with a thin slab of beef cecina.

photo credit: Kate Previte

Beef Cecina Tlayuda

We’ve had this tlayuda with steak tartare, and we’ve had it with cecina. Either way, it’s messy and action-packed. The beef is sprinkled with crunchy chicatanas, with salsa veracuzana and a thick layer of edamame guacamole underneath.
A quesadilla on a plate topped with truffle shavings.

photo credit: Kate Previte

Quesadilla

You can get this quesadilla in the a la carte area, or as an add-on to the tasting. If you have your heart set on it, fine. It’s a solid quesadilla with stretchy quesillo, but it isn’t all that memorable, even with the truffle shavings.

FOOD RUNDOWN

Suggested Reading

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