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Exit L'Impero, Enter Convivio

limpero_inside.jpgToday, Grub Street reports that L’Impero, the Tudor City Italian mainstay, will close on June 29, re-opening in mid-July as Convivio.

The “lugubrious” interior, which Frank Bruni likened to the inside of a coffin, will get a long-overdue makeover. The menu will offer a $59 four-course prix fixe — that’s $5 less than when we visited last year — with “small plates” served à la carte.

We’ve often noted that small-plate menus are seldom any cheaper, once you order enough food for a full meal. And because they are more confusing, such menus are prone to upselling and over-ordering. It will be interesting to see if L’Impero, er, Convivo, can avoid falling into that trap.

We agree with Cutlets that the makover offers a clean break from the Scott Conant era (he’s now at Scarpetta), and it will likely lure Frank Bruni for a re-review. Those are compelling reasons in themselves.

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