Ethan Stowell Restaurants opens its new downtown Italian restaurant, Cortina, today at 11 a.m. in the former home of Sullivan’s Steakhouse at 621 Union Street. The restaurant will serve an array of pizzas, pastas, steak, and seafood dishes at lunch, dinner, and happy hour, in a sprawling, contemporary space.
The minimalist design features light oak and gray furniture, with a 60-foot bar and glass pendant chandelier as the centerpieces. The restaurant’s 134 seats are spread across a dining room, bar, and a lounge area. There’s also a private events space that can seat up to 40 people.
As for the menu, Stowell appears to be covering as many bases as possible, perhaps to attract the downtown business crowd. There’s pasta dishes, naturally, with options like spaghetti carbonara and pork cheek gnocchi, and several pizzas, too, like the Staple and Fancy with pepperoni, pineapple, jalapeño, tomato, and mozzarella.
Main dishes include a New York strip with pomme frites and bone marrow (with the option to add half of a grilled lobster), Alaskan halibut, and a burger with Beecher’s cheese. The lunch menu is a bit more compressed, with a cobb salad, marinated skirt steak, and a BLT with avocado.
As for drinks, there are Old World wines and plenty of pours from Oregon, Washington, and California. local beer and cider, and original cocktails like the Bam Bam Daiquiri with rum, lime, Iris Liqueur, and sugar; Behind the Green Door with gin, lemon, cucumber, elderflower, rosemary, and celery bitters; The Super Bueno with tequila, Fresno chili, almond, lime, and orange liqueur; and Dark Horse with bourbon, scotch, and amaro.
The Super Bueno cocktail is a nod to Stowell’s other forthcoming restaurant of the same name. It’s promised to be a “family-friendly Mexican” restaurant, opening this spring in Fremont.
Happy hour, served in the bar only, runs from 3 to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 4 to 6 p.m. on weekends. Discounts are available on a few of the starters, pizzas, pastas, cocktails, beers, wines by the glass, and the burger.