Photos: Michael Tulipan
Contento which opened recently in East Harlem is all about accessibility. Contento’s Managing Partner and Beverage Director is Yannick Benjamin. After a car accident left him paralyzed below the waist, he quickly adapted by outfitting his wheelchair with a table, allowing him to continue his work as a sommelier. He went on to create Wine on Wheels, an organization that empowers people with disabilities.
The design of Contento reflects this passion with features for all wheelchair users, including a lower bar counter, slightly higher tables and enough space to navigate comfortably with dining room-level bathrooms, and adaptive utensils. The restaurant is also providing job training for those living with disabilities.
It’s also about the food and drink. Peruvian-born Chef Oscar Lorenzzi has worked at iconic NYC restaurants such as the Waverly Inn, Marseille and Nice Matin. The seasonal menu reflects influences from his native Peru. It begins with Cancha or corn nuts, a popular snack in Peru followed by small plates such as Shrimp Escabeche, Duck Liver Mousse with purple corn focaccian and Ceviche Classico with leche de tigre. Larger plates feature Creamy Quinoa risotto - “Quinotto” - with parmesan cream, Salmon with zucchini pico de gallo and pumpkin seeds, and Pork Katsu served Nikkei-style with a spicy vinegar daikon slaw.
The wine list explores regional wines from New York, Vermont, Maryland, and Virginia, as well as Euorpe and the ancient world, including Turkey, Israel, Lebanon, Greece and Sicily. Cocktails such as Lime & The Coconut get a Caribbean kick with light coconut rum, Luxardo, pressed coconut, and lime.
Contento is located at 88 E. 111th St, New York, NY (646) 410-0111
For more information, visit www.contentonyc.com