Monday, March 2, 2009

Crispo - Review

Crispo - Recommended
240 W 14th St, New York 10011
Btwn 7th & 8th Ave
Phone: (212) 229-1818

Some friends were in town this weekend and we needed to pick a restaurant that had some good vegetarian options. My best bet for vegetarian restos are usually Chinese, Italian and Indian joints. Crispo seemed like it would fit the bill, since I've been wanting to check this place out for a while. Good times, but didn't live up to my expectations. Overall, I give the restaurant an 86/100

My Menu
1) Risotto Balls *
2) Olive Miste *
3) Mozzarella Fritter *
4) Pappardelle with Wild Mushrooms (special) *
5) Roast Pork Shank with Quince and Chilis ***
6) Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies *

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way * Good ** Great *** What the F – in a good way

Dish Comments
1) A pretty good arancini. Crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside with good flavor that had some surprisingly al dente rice. Good stuff, but the arancini at bar stuzz still stands out at as #1 to me.
2) Interesting marinade and seemed heavy on maybe a sicilian oregano which I liked a lot.
3) Fried mozzarella sticks, but using better "mutz". Good and tasty with the spicy tomato sauce.
4) For some reason, most handmade pastas in Rome/Amalfi always had this silky texture with the al dente chew going on. I've yet to experience this in NYC. Most handmade pastas in NYC are rolled out super thin, which makes it silky but gives the pastas absolutely no chew. Crispo falls into this category too. Still it was a good pasta dish - just not too down with the texture.
5) A shocking dish. Fall off the bone flintstone sized pork shank with fresh chili's and chili flavor penetrating deep into the meat. I've never had an Italian dish with that much heat before and boy I loved it. The combination of the rich unctuous meat, with the bright chili flavor, and the sweet quince paired perfectly. I detected a slight hint of honey (not sure if it was added or coming naturally from the qunice) which rounded out the flavors nicely.
6) A very crispy chocolate chip cookie with great chocolate flavor. Good stuff, but I lean towards a cookie with more chew...the best of which is done by Mr. Chocolate, Jacques Torres.

Overall Restaurant Experience (86/100)

  • Food 8.6/10 – Everything was good and one dish was great. Our guests from out of town enjoyed their food, but some others thought their dishes were just OK.
  • Service 7.0/10 – Waiter was nice and even allowed my wife to sample the wine. Food did take a long time to come out. We didn't mind so much, since good wine and good conversations make time fly by fast.
  • Atmosphere 7.8/10 – Definitely dig the atmosphere. Brick wall and feels like a cave in the heart of Chelsea - similar feel to Peasant wine bar. Difference is the crowd here was packed with older couples and families. We were seated in a corner area with a bunch of girls that were crazy loud - very difficult to talk. Booked a reservation for 5 on a Saturday the same day. Took a while to get seated though.
  • Price 7.5/10 – Pasta's seemed a tad pricey for the quality, but the pork shank was a spectacular value (bout $22). I was incredibly happy with the value of my meal.
Closing Comments
I would definitely go back and order the shank again and maybe check out the dry pastas and some other antipastis. However, my wife mentioned she didn't necessarily need to go back based on her pasta dish.

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