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Restaurant Crispo


jeffperez62
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Had A nice lunch at Crispo on west 14th today. It was my first visit to the restaurant and thought the whole experience was very good. Has anyone eaten there recently/any comments?

If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding. How could you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat!??

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Yes. Sorry to say, it was not the positive experience you had. Went for dinner two weeks ago with great anticipation. Based on that evening, i would never go back. The restaurant is seriously overbooking at night and cramming in guests - so much so that i was knocked in the back and/or brushed against no fewer than five times by servers trying to squeeze past me to get to another table.

All the recent positive reviews have clearly had an effect - the place was mobbed - but the front of the house is not handling things well. People were lined up at the door, waiting long times for their tables. Lots of irritated faces. We even sent back one of the dishes we ordered; rarely does that happen.

Afterward, i got in touch with two food writers who had raved about the place, and asked if they'd been back since their initial reviews. One said that in fact she'd been back twice - but only for a drink - and the place was so overpacked, you could barely get to the bar, much less order food.

Which leads to the question - how interesting would it be for a reviewer to return to a place s/he raved about in print, 12 weeks later? Just to see how well the restaurant was handling things ... Both agreed it would be a great story for someplace like The Observer.

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Good point. We were there with a group of people and the restaurant opened for us on their off day, so we did not encounter any of the problems you experienced. However I do think the the chef does a good job creating good food for a reasonable price.

If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding. How could you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat!??

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  • 11 months later...

Having just joined the forums, I was curious to see if there were any postings about Crispo, as I was there last night for dinner. What a shame that a year after the last post (re: overbooking, mismanagement by the front of the house, etc.), those problems still exist! The food was really terrific, but we would have been smarter to remain at the bar once we saw the dramatic downward spiral in service.

The bartender was great; I would have preferred to give him the full evening's business (food and drink). We waited 25 minutes after we were done eating to get the check (including the last 10 mins with a cleared table!), and that was after asking for it three times.

If there's a better time to go there, I'd say it's worth a visit--but not on a Saturday night!

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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I was there a very long time ago, and what I remember vividly is the dungeon of a room in which they sat my party of 6. It was dark, cold, and our only company in the room was a couple, cameraman, and producer from a dating show. Service was poor and the food was forgettable. I do, however, remember a terrible dish of soggy fried calamari.

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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Interesting...it is the lower level of a brownstone, but I thought it was pretty warm...LOTS of candles all over the place now (including in the bathrooms). We enjoyed the prosciutto app and our entrees (a veal and wild mushroom tortelloni for me, a pork bragiole for my friend; but the service and constant pushing by the crowd near the bar and people banging in to the corner of our table distracted from the food. What a shame...makes me wonder if the management is paying ANY attention.

"I'm not eating it...my tongue is just looking at it!" --My then-3.5 year-old niece, who was NOT eating a piece of gum

"Wow--this is a fancy restaurant! They keep bringing us more water and we didn't even ask for it!" --My 5.75 year-old niece, about Bread Bar

"He's jumped the flounder, as you might say."

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I've been to Crispo twice, though have not been back since early summer. The two times I was there I found the service to be good and the food very good. I especially like the procuitto with smoked mozzarela and creamy polenta. The homemade ravioli are also excellent and the prices very reasonable. The other impressive thing about the place is that from what I understand, the chef Frank Crispo, pretty much built it himself.

Mike

The Dairy Show

Special Edition 3-In The Kitchen at Momofuku Milk Bar

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  • 3 years later...

It's amazing that there have been no posts to this thread since 2003! Chowhound's Manhattan board is bursting with praise for this restaurant, and now that I've finally gone, I am joining in the praise! I was there Sunday night for dinner, as part of a party of 5. Based on our experience, Crispo is excellent, and a great value!

For appetizers, several of us shared the following:

Citrus Cured Anchovies (very good)

Fresh Ricotta Tartufi, if I'm not mistaken (delicious and very creamy, almost a bit mascarpone-like)

Duck Liver Crostini, 2 orders (large portions, very rich, with a good mixture of capers and various other things)

Zucchini Flowers stuffed with cheese, etc., with a tomato-based relish, 2 orders (also delicious)

There was another appetizer I can't remember right now.

For primi, three of us got half-portions of Spaghetti "Shrimp Fra Diavola" [sic], which was an extremely tasty fra diavolo (I again noticed a welcome though subtle overtaste of capers) though not especially peppery. One got a half-portion of the Trofie al Prosciutto "San Daniele," which was very tasty. I'm forgetting what the other primo was.

For secondi, three of us got the Seared Duck Breast "Figs & Port," which was extremely good! I got my duck breast medium rare and it was near-perfect, slightly salty and nicely seared. Slices of onion were cooked in the port wine reduction, which was still noticeably a bit alcoholic.

One order of Grilled Hanger Steak "Tuscana" was brought out, with a substitution of roast beets instead of the usual potatoes, because of a potassium-restricted diet (there may have been a supplement for the substitution). I didn't try the steak, which my father was extremely happy with, but the caramelized onions and roast beets were delicious!

Instead of a real secondo, my brother ordered the "Ricotta Gnocchi" Duck & Fontina. The gnocchi were nice, but the duck and onion slaw with some cheese was outstanding.

A contorno of cauliflower al burro e parmigiano was also ordered and was superior to similar contorni in most Italian restaurants I've been to.

One thing worth noting is that Crispo appears to like including bitter greens in dishes. For example, the roasted endives that came with the duck were more bitter than usual for roasted endives, and there was also fresh watercress as part of the dish. Also, moderately bitter leaves of arugula (moderately for the vegetable, and therefore, rather bitter) came with the zucchini flowers. I happen to like the combination of bitter leaves with dishes containing fat (duck, cheese), but my mother found the endives just too bitter to eat, though she wasn't complaining about the dish.

All of us were way too full to order dessert!

Including a total of four glasses of wine, one glass of iced tea, and one espresso, the total was about $274 before tip, so a bit over $50/person before tax for a lot of really good food. I've paid more than that for food that wasn't nearly as good. Overall, a very satisfying experience that I look forward to repeating!

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I haven't been but Crispo has always been primarily known for its apparently excellent carbonara.

Ah yes. My cousin had the carbonara. Having just come back from a month in Italy, she found it a bit dry but tasty. I liked it.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I'm glad to see that Crispo is alive and well. I walk past it often and wonder. I was there for an early dinner last summer and it seemed that there is a bit of a bar scene. Am I correct?

If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding. How could you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat!??

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I live a couple of blocks away and hit Crispo with my friends all the time. Actually I think of it as one of my major "finds" this year, alongside Mole on 1st and Houston. The food is almost up to Lupa's quality, but you can usually walk right in and be seated.

It does have a bit of a bar scene; if you sit up front you'll need to shout.

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My dinner at Crispo was actually way better than my last -- and probably final -- meal at Lupa. I experienced a downward trajectory in three meals at Lupa, from great to good to mediocre.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dined here Saturday night (advance reservation on opentable). It was unseasonably warm so I requested a table in the Garden Room, walls on four sides and open roof. Nice and much quieter than main dining room which had loud rock music blaring.

Food: Shared the Risotto Balls for an app, very good with a nice pronounced risotto flavor. Ordered Pomegranate Sangria to go with it. Nice, light, more like juice than wine though.

Buccatini was like it should be and the sauce with guanciale had good flavor. Another pasta dish...with spiral pasta, prosciutto, peas and a cream sauce was also good. Spaghetti and Meatballs was a winner with a terrific tasting homemade meatball. My only complaint is the pasta was a little softer than al dente. But otherwise it was good. The only subpar dish was the Veal Saltimbocca, made with overcooked and mushy veal. Someone at another table ordered a pork chop which looked massive.

Service: We were definitely rushed and hurried. We tried ordering an app and drinks to start but our server said we had to order the whole meal at the same time. So we did and the meal came a second after we were done with the app. With no coffee and dessert we were in and out in about an hour. Everything was served so fast after we ordered, I wonder how much was last night's leftovers (We sat down at 6:30).

Would I go back...? If I'm in the neighborhood, yes I probably would for the spaghetti and meatballs.

Otherwise, there are too many Italian joints on my list I haven't tried yet. Crispo didn't snag me as much as I had hoped.

Edited by TrishCT (log)
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I was there again tonight, with my cousin and her son. We did order all our savory items at the same time, but we never felt rushed. I'm sorry they rushed you.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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