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Jan 24, 2008 06:31 AM

Crispo or Country Cafe

i know they are totally different places and menus but i was thinking of either of them for Valentine's Day with my husband.
I haven't been to Country and the last time i was at Crispo was years and years ago but everyone on these boards seem to love it there.
I am not looking to do anything super fancy, just a nice dinner with good food and good wine.
Any thoughts about either place would be great.

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  1. Crispo is the obvious answer for me.

    1. I can only speak about the Cafe at Country. The first time we had dinner there, the food was delicious and service was excellent. Based on that good experience, we had dinner there again, but unfortunately, things were quite different. Dishes were served at incorrect temperatures and had to be sent back, timing of dishes coming out of the kitchen was poor, and our server was mostly mia.

      It's a large space with attractive, contemporary design. There's a huge bar in the center of the room, and tables -- some with more comfortable seating than others -- are set along its sides, as well as into the corner near the street entrance. The first time, it wasn't very busy, so the noise level was acceptable. However, the second time, the place was jammed, and the noise level was hideously high.

      The executive chef/owner is Geoffrey Zakarian, but the chef on the scene daily was Doug Psaltis. However, he's been gone for some time. (It isn't known if it was voluntary or he was fired.) I have never heard anything about a replacement, so I presume Zakarian is overseeing things. Perhaps someone who has been there recently can chime in with an opinion about the current quality of the food.

      3 Replies
      1. re: RGR

        the website looks lovely and i had heard good things about it when it first opened but not in long time. i always meant to make it there and never did and now i feel like i may have missed the time when it was worth going!

        1. re: slewlew

          It's hard to know. With Psaltis gone, if Zakarian is more hands-on now, that could be a good thing. His food really is delicious. The problems we had were temperature issues. Of course, then there's the noise level issue. For me, it's a deal-breaker. If that won't bother you -- and it could very well not be noisy on any particular night -- the Cafe might be worth a shot for an ordinary dinner though perhaps not for celebrating Valentine's Day. (Note: We never go out on V-Day.)

          1. re: RGR

            we usually cook for valentines day but i felt the need to try and book a place that wouldn't be where you would normally go on that day. just some place i havent been and not in my area, so i wouldn't think of going to on a regular basis...we might just have to stay in!

      2. I went to Crispo once recently (largely because of all the positive posts here). The food is good, large portions, value priced. They watch the tables closely, though we didn't feel rushed. It is large, can be noisy. IMO I don't think it's appropriate for Valentine's Day. My preference would be for a smaller, more intimate place.

        2 Replies
        1. re: financialdistrictresident

          I agree. Though the food and value is good at Crispo, there's the "watched closely" feeling during our dinners.

          1. re: financialdistrictresident

            Agree...Crispo is one of my absolute favorite, regular dinner spots. For Valentine's, not sure.

          2. cafe at country on the first and last trip i will ever have there had mediocre food at high prices in a nice setting with awful service .

            1. Just got back from my nyc visit yesterday and following the recommendations on this site had dinner with friends at Crispo for the first time ever Sunday night. We were definitely not disappointed. We loved it, but if it's a quiet romantic spot you're looking for this probably isn't it. What I really liked about Crispo was that it had amazing food and very good service without being too trendy or precious. I just can't take places like that anymore. I'll definitely be back. My policy for Valentines Day is just to stay in and cook. V-Day at a restaurant just seems to stressful.