Deep in the heart of the West Village, at the corner of Hudson & Perry, Spasso opened its doors to patrons less than two months ago. With names like Bobby Werhane of Choptank, dell’anima and L’Artusi and Craig Wallen of Convivio and Lupa, Spasso's birth was sure to cause some buzz.
So much buzz, in fact, that I decided early in January to make a Valentine's Day reservation there for Patrick & me. I had read in the Urban Daddy write-up that there was a communal table inside the restaurant's kitchen where diners could sit and watch the food preparation as they sip on a glass of wine from Spasso's expansive wine list. When I made the reservation, I requested 2 seats at this table because who wouldn't love to sit in the kitchen?
When the waiter went on to explain that we would get to choose, between the 2 of us, 3 appetizers, 2 pasta courses, 1 entree to split and 2 desserts AND that each of the 4 courses came with a wine pairing, I began to feel a little better. When he ran through the list of dishes available, I felt a lot better; he named every single dish we had already planned to order. So, while I was initially almost upset over the surprise prix-fixe menu, it actually turned out for the best.
Our first glass of wine, a sparkling Rosé, was poured, and we began to truly enjoy our evening. For our 3 appetizers, we decided on the Eggplant Arancini, Tuna Crudo & Fried Oysters. If you haven't noticed, we're kind of on a Fried Oyster kick these days! Life could be worse...
When the appetizers arrived, we were both excited to dig in. The Fried Oysters were the clear winners of the course, they were light (yes, light!), with a slight hint of the fresh lemon we had squeezed over the plate.
He brought the bowls over and set them down in front of us, and the aroma was delightful. They looked as amazing as we had hoped, and we each went in for our first bite. After 2-3 fork-fulls, we traded bowls. The dishes were so different from each other that it's impossible to say which one I liked better. I love orecchiette, and mine was perfectly-cooked. The shrimp and crab added a lovely taste of the sea and the breadcrumbs introduced a nice crunch.
At this point in the meal, I was thoroughly convinced that we had already gotten our $75 worth, but we still had to choose a main course. We decided to share the Trout wrapped in Prosciutto with Sage. The fish was placed between us, and a nice glass of red was poured. I would have liked to have the red wine with the pasta and the white wine with the fish, but I'm not complaining. The fish was light and flaky while the meat wrapped around it was smoky, flavorful and just the right amount of salty. We managed to finish the entire piece, but someone was going to have to roll us out of there.
While I was initially turned off about the prix-fixe menu that we only found out about once we sat down, we definitely got our money's worth. I'm looking forward to returning to Spasso to try the rest of the menu. I'm curious to know what you think. Do you think the restaurant should have told us about the mandatory prix-fixe menu? Do you think it should have been an option? Has the same thing ever happened to you? I wish they had told us, but the rest of the meal was simply fabulous.
-The Fabulous Foodie