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Northern Italian Restaurant Corvo Bianco to Open on UWS

By Emily Frost | September 18, 2012 2:02pm

UPPER WEST SIDE — A new full-service Italian restaurant and bar is slated to open in the former home of pan-Latin restaurant Calle Ocho this fall, bringing a "downtown feel" to the Upper West Side.

Corvo Bianco, an "inviting, yet sophisticated" restaurant at 446 Columbus Ave., at West 81st Street, whose name means white crow in Italian, is slated to open Nov. 1, said co-owner Luis Gonzalez Rul.

The space is currently filled with piles of rubble, tools and has an exposed floor — evidence of the renovation after Calle Ocho moved out of the space in July 2011, and relocated across the street.

Rul, 28, and his partner Pablo Granja, 45, are hoping to capitalize on the neighborhood's apparent hunger for an Italian restaurant with plenty of ambience.

The menu will have Northern Italian favorites with a twist and unexpected combinations of flavors. Entrees will range between $16 and $29; appetizers will be between $9 and $17. 

"We want to cater to the foodies," said Rul. "We want to make this the neighborhood's living room."

Chef Andrea Cobbe grew up in Northern Italy and worked in Rul's familiy's restaurants in Mexico. Rul is excited about his fried eggplant and pine nut meatballs and his handmade pasta. But Chef Cobbe's main focus will be seafood, including octopus carpaccio and sauteed scallops in lavender butter with lima beans. 

They've incorporated a large area for families to use for stroller parking and are also making a comfortable place for handicapped customers.

"We're putting a lot of effort into ADA compliance," he said. The restaurant will feature a lift built into the floor that will bring diners to the upper level dining room and a handicap accessible bathroom.

Downstairs, a bar area will seat around 35 people, while the upstairs dining room, which features a landmarked skylight, will hold 120 diners. The decor is a mix of reclaimed wood and Italian ceramic tiles. On weekdays the restaurant will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m, and on weekends the restaurant will be open from 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 a.m.

This is both owners' first venture into the New York City restaurant scene.

"If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere," said Rul.

Both Rul and Granja live nearby.

"We believe in the neighborhood. I never tire of my walk to the restaurant," said Rul.