return to spinasse
a brand new restaurant is never a final product. it’s impossible for anyone to predict how things will run until they’re actually running, to predict who the guests will be until they’re actually there, and how the flow of a new space will work when it’s packed with diners, hoping-to-be diners, and staff.
my first visit to spinasse was on their four-day anniversary. it was one of the few hot days of the summer and the front door had hung open like a panting mouth, hoping to wrangle in some moving air. it took just the one meal for me to join the slew of self-appointed critics attempting to use adjectives to describe their adoration.
the temperature was at least 50 degrees colder when i returned last week. i’d gotten off the bus from downtown prematurely, as a putrid smell had begun emanating from someone near me (i dared not look to see where it was coming from). spinasse, however, smelled fantastic, was packed, and required us to wait for over an hour (which, at licorous, was extremely enjoyable, particularly with excellent company and foie gras bon bons).
once upon my woven bar stool, it was as though no time had passed at all. the sparkling villa sparina was still fabulously unique as far as glass-pour bubbly goes, the menu still short and sweet (though the tasting menus have been re-worked, with the dining room given the à la carte option), the wine list no less lovely and only slightly more approachable, and this simply because i’ve been taking intensive wine classes all fall.
a friend had been in just the week before and reported that she found the ravioli too light and too summery. these were the qualities i loved about it. stuffed with sweet and nutty sunchoke purée and clad with little more than butter and sage leaves, the pasta was quite possibly the most delicate complex carbohydrate i’ve consumed. the portion was also delicate, the price much less so ($22). however, the sublime flavor and textures are the result of training and time (both costly) and i didn’t feel ripped off in the least.
i was even more thankful for the buoyancy of the pasta with my first chew of goat. despite the fact that it was rich and tender and came easily off the slender bones, the meat remained extraordinarily dense and filling. it was as opposite as it could be from the tartar, delicate and tender with a hint of smoke.
dessert options had expanded in my absence. served unadorned, these pieces of chocolate have nearly no relation to hersheys. made by claudio corallo on his biodynamic plantation on the small african island of sao tome, the flavor is pure, mild, and not too sweet. it’s difficult to not be very full at the end of a meal at spinasse, and this is a manageable dessert. it also happens to make any accompanying grappa a little easier on your soul.