Browsing Tag:

italian restaurant

dessert/ dinner/ Italian/ nyc

Spasso: Satisfying Italian

Spasso is the newly opened restaurant by Craig Wallen, who has cooked at Lupa and Convivio, and Bobby Wehane of Choptank. Urban Daddy’s feature on Spasso caught my eye:

“Inside, you’ll find all the required trappings of a proper dinner for two. A table lit with candles. A menu full of homemade pastas. And a marble-topped bar stocked with the city’s most formidable sparkling wine collection.”

It definitely sounded like a place to try out, perhaps for future date recommendations (oh yes I am making a list). As a start of the new year, I have started a foodie group and this was the first restaurant outing. Being that we’re all easy-going and curious foodies, many appetizers were ordered to share.

This picture is the eggplant arancini with whipped housemade ricotta and roasted tomato. The inside eggplant with ricotta provided the creaminess which worked well with crispy exterior. Plus this wasn’t oily at all and that made it easy to pop these beauties into your mouth.

Charred octopus with cucumbers, yogurt, mint is shown above. They did a good job cooking the octopus; it was not too soft and not too hard. The cucumbers, yogurt, and mint provided refreshing flavors which created a light appetizer to start off the meal.

This is their housemade Stracciatella cheese served with olio nuovo and grilled bread. I would have to say this dish was the highlight of all the appetizers. The cheese was very light and perfectly stretched out, separated into strands so you can spread it onto the grilled bread. DELICIOUS. I couldn’t get enough and even grabbed the table bread to eat more of this cheese.

Above is the Orecchiette with rock shrimp, crab, and breadcrumbs. The texture of the pasta was very interesting and well-done; the breadcrumbs gave the dish a nice crunch along with the al dente orecchiette. This pasta was also pretty light in comparison to what the my fellow foodies ordered, which helped in making it easier to finish eating all the orecchiette.

Their coconut panna cotta with pineapple and lychee was pretty average and a relatively safe dessert to create and serve. The selection of desserts wasn’t very extensive and seemed like an after-thought, but at least they were enjoyable.

Spasso is a solid Italian restaurant in the midst of a lot other comfort Italian restaurants. It is NOT a date restaurant nor a quiet place, rather it is a place for smaller parties and casual diners. They have a nice selection of starters and pastas cooked in an open kitchen that can be seen in the back. It is a place I would go to again and look to eating more of that delicious homemade Stracciatella cheese.

Spasso
551 Hudson St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 858-3838

Italian/ lunch/ nyc

Convivio: Taste of Italy with their Lunch Prix Fix

Being a person who longs for eating handmade al dente pastas and delicate yet fragrant sauces, I am on a search for real authentic Italian food similar to what I ate in Italy. I am not sure what places in NYC can provide me this quality of Italian food (so maybe someone can provide me some recommendations), but I am going to go through NY Mag’s Two for Eight, Notable Italian restaurants. The first one on the list to try is Convivio.

It is located at 45 Tutor City Place and as a veteran New Yorker, I didn’t know where that was. Turns out that it is on a small street nestled within Midtown East, right across from the United Nations. At first, I mistakenly go into an apartment building with the same address, and the doorman tells me the restaurant is right next door. I finally make it through the rain and get into the restaurant, which is nicely decorated with warm yet clean furniture: a large mirror, simple and beautiful floral arrangements, and a red velvet seats line the wall. The wait staff is friendly and professional, informing us of the prix fix menu that is two courses for $28, and its conditions:

1. You can choose two courses, either an appetizer + pasta, pasta + pasta, or appetizer + entrée.
2. You cannot have two entrees.
3. Any additional course is $12.

Their pasta portions are sizable for a girl like me, but probably not enough for a boy with a hefty appetite. I ordered an appetizer called Polpettine, tomato braised meatballs and a ricotta salada, since I have been on a quest to find the “perfect meatball” (but that’s meant as a whole other post altogether).

Their meatballs were tender and juicy, but a little salty for my taste. I liked the tomato sauce that came with it because it helped cut the salt and provided a tart and sweet flavor to the meatballs.

Then came the pasta – Pappardelle al Nero di Seppia, which is their squid ink pasta with seppia (cuttlefish), mussels, and swordfish polpettine. The pasta was al dente and the seafood, nicely cooked, provided the unami flavor to the pasta. The swordfish polpettine reminds me of Chinese seafood cake because of its similarity in texture and shape, so that made the dish even tastier and fun to eat.

I walked out feeling not too full or hungry, perfectly satisfied with the lunch. Convivio comes close to what I experienced in Italy, more so than other Italian restaurants that I have encountered in NYC. My intention is to go back for dinner to see how their full menu compares to lunch. As for now, Convivio has given me a small taste of Italy, which is all I can ask for.