Posted 22 December 2010 - 08:03 PM
Salt-roasted Arctic char, buttered leek pancotto ($22 per person, order size for two)
Roast poussin, marsala, winter panzanella ($25)
Ricotta strascinari, braised duck leg, smoked scamorza ($22)
551 Hudson Street (Perry Street)
Posted 23 December 2010 - 06:55 PM
Posted 28 March 2011 - 06:09 PM
And she was right. This was a meal where everything went right. I was shocked.
Everybody starts with a bowl of stracciatella, string cheese in whey (or whatever that white milky liquid is) which you spread on toast. Delicious.
I figured things would go downhill from there. They didn't.
I had, as an antipasto, the eggplant arancini, perfectly fried balls of smokey eggplant in a piquant pepper sauce. My friend had what may be the most attractive (I'm tempted to say "the first attractive") rebolita I've ever seen. It tasted good, too. This kitchen is clearly firing on all cylinders.
We split a pasta of ricotta gnocchi-like things (called strascinari) with smoked cheese and a pulled braised duck leg. Again, delicious. The smoked cheese added just the subtle extra interest needed to put this dish over the top.
I had a lamb belly special. The belly was seemingly long braised and then served in a mess of artichokes and other vegetables. More meaty and less fatty than I expected, with a good assertive lamb flavor. My friend's seared mackerel was unexpectedly excellent -- just perfectly cooked.
The reason this place excels is clearly that the kitchen is better than you'd ever expect in yet another modest Italian place. Not exciting in any way, but simply very good.
What is exciting is the wine list. It's full of bottles with some age on them, and mark-ups are gentle.
In the scheme of things, I can't say I'm going to go rushing back to Spasso. One eats too much Italian food as it is these days. But I'll go happily whenever my friend drags me there.
Posted 28 March 2011 - 06:53 PM
If they were not two blocks away from on another, that comparison wouldn't be so problematic. But as you say, certainly not a place I need to be dragged to.
Also quite possibly the least comfortable bar stools in the world.
Remember there is soon to be a Frankies just on the other side of hudson a block up.
Posted 28 March 2011 - 06:55 PM
But again, it may just be my shock at liking it at all.
Posted 28 March 2011 - 06:57 PM
Posted 28 March 2011 - 07:10 PM
I love breast of lamb but it rarely reaches the butchers. Even in Scotland I had to ask for it specially (they charged me pennies for it). Particularly good stuffed with a herby, bready mixture to absorb the fat.
I had a lamb belly special. The belly was seemingly long braised and then served in a mess of artichokes and other vegetables. More meaty and less fatty than I expected, with a good assertive lamb flavor.
Posted 28 March 2011 - 08:32 PM
Also am I crazy or is Spasso a shade cheaper?
Posted 18 April 2011 - 03:21 PM
Posted 18 April 2011 - 04:44 PM
I waited tables at a placed called Café Spasso, a trendy pasta house, in Long Island for a few years. It was a gold mine. We did 200-300 covers weeknights and up to 800 on wknds (consistently). We sat maybe 115. Yes, we turned tables quickly. We would go on a wait (no res) sometimes at 5:30 often until 12:30. The most challenging aspect was that we couldn't get to our tables, micros, bar and bus stations. Customers where on top of us. (The waiting area accommodated only a small #, maybe 50). We could never understand the justification for waiting, often over an hour, for penne vodka. The laughs we had watching the mgr and hosteses get reamed for quoting a table time that went over. Fun times. After 3yrs I went to the sister restaurant, Café Baci for another 2 years. Same #’s if not better.
They put me through school, paid my rent and everything else. Indebted forever.
Posted 18 April 2011 - 05:08 PM