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What to order at Spago?

I am going to Spago for the first time this Friday and want to know everyone's favorite dishes and of course desserts. Has anyone tried the hong kong style salmon? what about a secret menu I have heard about? I prefer no red meat but my friends might be interested. Also, I know the tasting menu is amazing but unfortunately, I don't think we will be doing that this time.

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  1. If there is a rabbit dish, get it. Lee can only get a limited amount of rabbit, so he only serves it on weekends (sometimes only as part of the tasting menu). I had a preparation as part of a tasting menu, and it was one of the best dishes I've ever had. After we told Lee how great it was, he told us that he loves cooking rabbit and loves to experiment with it.

    1. The great thing about Spago is they do it all so well. They're dependably wonderfully delicious. You can trust that whatever you feel like eating from the menu will be very good. So order as you please when you get there.

      Having said all that, I personally do not like Puck's restaurants' renditions of Asian cooking, so I wouldn't order something called hong kong style salmon. I don't like the food at Chinois. But apparently plenty of other people like it.

      1. It is a dilemma.
        Spago used to be better than it is now.

        The beet and goat cheese salad for example used to be definitive and HUGE -- now it is a tired recreation of the same one everyone serves and SKIMPY.

        Pastas are below average. I had one in a lunch tasting menu that was like cardboard.

        Also agree that the Puck Group take on "Asian" does not enthrall and leaves much to be desired.

        I would stick to the specialties that you only really get at Spago, and if they have a banana and chocolate dessert, definitely get that.

        It's overrated, though, and "dependably delicious" is NOT the phrase that comes to my mind...

        1 Reply
        1. re: jcwla

          Interesting. I have not been there in awhile, but I would NOT have said that it's over-rated, and somehow doubt that I would say it now. I'll have to go back. A coworker was there last week and he still loves it, and I think he has pretty good tastebuds.

        2. Portions are large. Two first courses with a shared dessert or an entree with a dessert are the maximum for most people I know. Appetizers in generally are huge.

          I don't care for any of the semi-Asian stuff. Sweet and gloppy--I can't recommend any of the dishes.

          I prefer the Austrian "Childhood favorites" or any dishes made with game. The rabbit in particular is superb. The handmade pastas are often very good and purist and desserts are really excellent. The wine service tends to be knowledgable and relaxed.

          Relax and enjoy yourself.

          1. we like the goulash with spatzle and the foie gras tasting. actually, we think all his austrian dishes are very good. we usually eat them in the cooler weather.

            1. Definitely the foie gras.

              Enjoy the seafood and red meats. Risotto is also excellent, as well as seafood pastas.

              All desserts are phenomenal. It changes seasonally, but past favorites include any souffle; anything chocolate or with chocolate combinations for that matter, like an expresso/chocolate tart, or the Manhattan; the reputable Kaiserschmarren; chocolate donuts; or a simple granita or vanilla bean ice cream with berries in a cookie shell.

              Here's a sample menu:

              1. Interesting discussion. I'm going tonight and I'm dreading it, but it's a friend's birthday and that's where she wanted to go, so I had to remind myself that it's not about me.

                From this discussion, I see that the reason that I've never had a meal I've enjoyed at Spago is because I like Asian food and I always make the mistake of ordering one of Spago's Asian type dishes. But I also don't really like rabbit and red meat, so that doesn't leave much to order.

                Oh well, I'm planning to drink a lot and I just made myself a pre-dinner snack right now so I wouldn't be too hungry. Pretty pitiful when you are so dreading going to a restaurant that you have to make yourself a pre-dinner snack, but it's not about me! And at least I've always found the service very gracious at Spago.

                1. Check out the other recent post on Spago. Apparently, you are making two HUGE mistakes: (a) going on a Friday; (b) not ordering the tasting menu. Proceed with caution.