Thursday, May 9, 2013

Girls' Night Out

Final Grade: B 

            I don’t care how many pairs of shoes or gallons of Chunky Monkey you have to go through to realize that sometimes the only thing that makes you smile is your girlfriends. Yes, hubby or boyfriend is great, we know.  I mean no harm to the male species. What I do mean is that there is just something about your gals and you at a table for hours on end. Heck, you might not even being having a bad day and yet this outing always makes you stand a bit taller.

            With that said, I, along with my besties- Jayne and Kristen, try to make a point get together once a month. You would think once a month is easy, right? Eh, try again my optimistic friends. Jayne & Kristen work in the big bad city and therefore work until, well, I still haven’t figured that out. I work in NJ and teach school which makes me the first one to hit the road and get to dinner. But since I tutor on most days, have meetings on others and enjoy my time with hubby, I oh-too-often have minimal nights to work with. They, them being city slickers and all, also have after-work agendas and quite cute Hubbies to be with too! All of this working/wifing/outing stuff leaves us with about .2 days that we are all clear on. Ha, it’s a miracle the once a month target has been working, kinda.
Fried Fresh Mozz
            So here was last month’s, or was it this month’s, dinner. I actually have been like wonder woman lately and have been driving into the city. Weird, I know. So while I was scouring one of the villages looking for a spot, I caught the eye of my blue-eyed friend from afar. Yep, there she was, hightailing it to dinner. I beeped, she ran and hopped in and we found a spot that I paralleled like a pro. Our destination that we were headed to was Crispo, an Italian underground villa-like space. Jayne soon arrived and we got to catching up……and eating up.

Caramelized Brussels
            First courses: A special of the evening, fried fresh mozzarella coated in Panko crumbs and Caramelized Brussel Spouts with Almonds and Maple. They both were divine and gone too quickly. The Brussels left a better mark on me as I was impressed by the al dente “bite” each sprout sported.  Fried cheese is well, fried cheese. As long as it is piping hot, gooey, and partnered with a good marinara- I’m happy. Results: Happy friends all around!

Jayne's Orecchiette
            Dinners: Orecchiette Broccoli Rabe & Fennel Sausage, Trofie al Prosciutto with Truffle Butter, Peas & Parmigiano and Grilled Hangar Steak over a Carrot Risotto and Red Wine Reduction. I believe the pastas are all home-made and by the taste of the 2 listed, I can attest to the quality and distinctness. The Orecchiette, although a simple dish, was memorable from the sweet fennel sausage crumbles. Kristen’s Trofie (twisted pastas) was a definite looker on the table yet was marred by a bit too much salt. Nothing makes things better than with some truffle, and here again it saved the day. My steak was the winner of the night, hands down. The steak was cooked exactly to my medium-rare request while the carrot risotto was texturally and tastefully sound. The sweet onions atop were the perfect condiment to allow the meat to shine while adding a bit of uniqueness to the dish.
My Steak
            Dessert: Zeppoles with a chocolate sauce. The minute we took a bite, we were all transported back to the boardwalk. The only difference was that these zeppoles weren’t 2 lbs each and about 5 hours old. No, these fried gems were like puffed up pillows with a sweet and salty exterior that crunched just enough. The chocolate sauce wasn’t necessary but, as usual, we got our chocolate fill in for the night.

Back to the Boardwalk...
            We finished up dinner with hugs and walks in different directions. We emailed in the morning and attempted to schedule our next soiree. Surprisingly the date and place was picked with ease and it looks like we’re headed to Montclair soon. Sadly though, because of life, we’ve had to reschedule and the new night is TBD. Eh, I’m not worried; I know we’ll be sipping, forking and gossiping in no time!

Crispo is located at 240 West 14th St., New York City, NY, 10011. More information available at

Total score 17/25

Final Grade: B

A: 21-25    B: 16-20    C: 11-15   D: 6-10    F: 0-5

Restaurant Rubric

Food Taste
Bland, boring, overcooked, underdone
Very little flavor, not much aroma
Flavors apparent, basic ability to please palates
Flavor worth discussing, chef’s use of ingredients impressive
Great flavor, taste lingers and leaves diner wanting more
Restaurant service
Inattentive staff, no regard for wait time
Staff average in helpfulness, timing alright, either more/less needed
Staff knowledgeable and attentive to needs without asking, timing very well executed
Remarkable and noteworthy, service so good you forget it is ever an issue elsewhere
Food Presentation
Cover it up please
Sloppy and the eater can tell little thought went into it
Descent presentation: looks alright, not worth a picture but enough to make you hungry
Admirable, it is apparent the chef plated with a consideration for presentation
Presentational talents are here. Looks beautiful and too good to dig in
Prices match quality
Prices are too high for quality
Prices are still too high but not outrageously
Some items are priced accordingly but not all
Most items are priced accordingly
All items are matched accordingly
Would I go back?
Not a chance ever
Looking forward to it
What time should I arrive?!?


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