Jump to content


Photo

Spasso


  • Please log in to reply
32 replies to this topic

#1 TaliesinNYC

TaliesinNYC

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 5,084 posts

Posted 22 December 2010 - 08:03 PM

Bobby Werhane, formerly of dell'anima and L'Artusi and Chef Craig Wallen, formerly of Convivo and Lupa, will soon open Spasso, a casual Italian "bistro" located in the heart of Greenwich Village.

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)
(212) 858-3838

#2 Wilfrid

Wilfrid

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 68,385 posts

Posted 23 December 2010 - 04:56 PM

Mm. What's in a name?

#3 Nancy S.

Nancy S.

    Advanced Member

  • Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 922 posts

Posted 23 December 2010 - 06:55 PM

In naming children, I like it when the names are somehow related, e.g., equally hip, equally classic, equally creative. I guess Bobby Werhane, owner of both Choptank and Spasso has a similar predilection.

#4 Wilfrid

Wilfrid

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 68,385 posts

Posted 23 December 2010 - 07:42 PM

Oh boy, I didn't know they were related. What next? :lol:

#5 Sneakeater

Sneakeater

    Advanced Member

  • Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 39,644 posts

Posted 28 March 2011 - 06:09 PM

This may be another example of The Magic Of Low Expectations. I pretty much had to be dragged to Spasso kicking and screaming. "Why eat here?" I asked my friend. "Another causual Italian place. What's the point?" "No, no, it's really good," she insisted.

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.
Bar Loser

MF Old

#6 Anthony Bonner

Anthony Bonner

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 10,416 posts

Posted 28 March 2011 - 06:53 PM

We went a few weeks ago - I thought it was good, but just very slightly not quite as good as dell'anima. But I'm willing to say that's an issue of my personal inertia

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.
Why not mayo?

#7 Sneakeater

Sneakeater

    Advanced Member

  • Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 39,644 posts

Posted 28 March 2011 - 06:55 PM

I was actually going to do a dell'anima comparison that put Spasso as somewhat better.

But again, it may just be my shock at liking it at all.
Bar Loser

MF Old

#8 Sneakeater

Sneakeater

    Advanced Member

  • Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 39,644 posts

Posted 28 March 2011 - 06:57 PM

Frankies will just make all these other places look even better.
Bar Loser

MF Old

#9 g.johnson

g.johnson

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 18,881 posts

Posted 28 March 2011 - 07:10 PM

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.

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.
The Obnoxious Glyn Johnson

#10 oakapple

oakapple

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 8,609 posts

Posted 28 March 2011 - 08:18 PM

I also really liked Spasso, and (based on one meal) rank it a bit higher than Dell'Anima.
Marc Shepherd
Editor, New York Journal

#11 Sneakeater

Sneakeater

    Advanced Member

  • Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 39,644 posts

Posted 28 March 2011 - 08:27 PM

I'd forgotten about your review, but now that I've re-read it having gone to this place, I agree with every word. I think you captured it perfectly.
Bar Loser

MF Old

#12 Anthony Bonner

Anthony Bonner

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 10,416 posts

Posted 28 March 2011 - 08:32 PM

just to be clear, I don't think anyone is crazy for ranking this place above dell'anima. I'm willing to concede my discomfort might have played into it a bit.
Also am I crazy or is Spasso a shade cheaper?
Why not mayo?

#13 Sneakeater

Sneakeater

    Advanced Member

  • Admin
  • PipPipPip
  • 39,644 posts

Posted 18 April 2011 - 03:21 PM

Having eaten in them within a couple of nights of each other, I think I have to concede that Bonner is right and that dell'anima is better than Spasso. They're both worthy, but dell'anima sprinkles more fairy dust on their food or something: it just seems that tiniest bit more special.
Bar Loser

MF Old

#14 Eatmywords

Eatmywords

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 649 posts

Posted 18 April 2011 - 04:44 PM

I have nothing to add as I’ve never been and probably never will. Manhattan visits are precious and few these days. But I laugh every time I see the name of this thread as it instantly takes me back 15yrs.

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.

#15 Anthony Bonner

Anthony Bonner

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 10,416 posts

Posted 18 April 2011 - 05:08 PM

that's why the name sounded so familiar to me!!! Must have driven by that place a million times as a kid. Never ate there though.
Why not mayo?