Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Jun 9, 2008 07:13 AM

Is Crispo THE right choice?

I am planning a trip to NYC in Sept. and turn to you experts to guide me in my reservation choices. We will be staying in the Village. Each trip we try to go to one of the many "must try" places that will afford us that quintessential NYC experience. I have heard many good things about Crispo that it seems to be a good contender. I certainly like the price point and the casual atmosphere. I understand the noise level is a factor but that is something I am willing to work with ASSUMING of course, you all think this is the right choice of places to try.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Crispo is good, but if you can, try to get a reservation for Lupa. Prices are about the same, as is the noise level, but I find the food much better at Lupa.

    2 Replies
    1. re: liger

      Interesting and good to know. Any idea how far out I should make reservations?

      1. re: texann

        I think you're allowed a month out - call them or even try opentable. you'll likely be able to walk in if you go around 5-6 as well.

    2. Crispo is good, but I wouldn't consider it a "destination" restaurant...It's more of a solid neighborhood spot.

      3 Replies
      1. re: LeahBaila

        I was in the same boat as you. Had read all kinds of hype about Crispo. I knew it wasn't a destination spot but was looking forward to the great food so many posters were raving about. BIG mistake. While the appetizers were good enough the pastas were so bad I would never go back. Clumpy and bland is the only way to describe them. The back garden was very pretty and service was friendly...although when you leave your plate of pasta pretty much untouched I would expect a decent waiter to ask if there had been a problem.
        Do yourself a favour and pick somewhere else. It was the only bad dining experience I have ever had in New york.

        1. re: trishottawa

          Yikes - well that doesn't sound very good at all. I would hope this was jsut a fluke and it isn't that bad ALL the time! Thank you so much for your honesty. What places did you like? Was there some place that really stood out for you that you felt was worthy of a "Wow"?

          1. re: texann

            Places we have enjoyed include Babbo, Balthazar, Alta, Stanton Social, Orso, Abbocato, Blue Water grill, Lure, Central Park boathouse (lunch), Perry Street, Bridge Cafe, Jane, Orso, and Perilla.
            Have fun!

      2. Since you have never been to either, I would try to get into Lupa, but if you can't, Crispo should be just fine. I eat at Crispo much more often than Lupa, but that is mainly because of the difficulty of reserving at Lupa. Though there have been a few complaints on this board about Crispo, far more comments have been favorable. I always have an enjoyable meal there, and consider it one of the best in its price range.

        1. Another quintessential NYC experience, if you're not stuck on italian would be the little owl - it's in the same price range, but again its a tough reservation.

          1 Reply
          1. re: liger

            How funny you should suggest that - its in our plan as well! Thank you for unknowingly confirming another choice!

          2. I would agree with the other posters that Crispo is more of a great neighborhood spot than a "destination" spot, but if you aren't blowing it out cost-wise, I think it is a good choice in your geographic area.

            If you're willing to travel a bit, Mia Dona in East Midtown is a very strong new contender; I would put it on par with Lupa (and around that price point), which I haven't found to be as good as it was in years past, and is very difficult to get into (but on the plus side, is probably closer to where you're staying). Mia Dona is still pretty casual but is a bit more refined in look than Crispo is.

            Also, if you're willing to head into the East Village, I think Max is as good or better than Crispo and even more reasonably priced. It still has outdoor space, but is a bit more noisy.

            But, if you're staying in the West Village, Crispo or Lupa is probably the way to go. Po (Batali's former place; no longer affiliated) I also hear is still good, but can't vouch personally for that.

            It's worth noting that the "enoteca" portion of Del Posto has a reasonably priced tasting menu and offers a chance to eat in a more dramatic/refined restaurant without its high prices. I don't think it's quite as good as Lupa, but it is easier to get into.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jonasblank

              Thank you so much for your input. I have to admit, apparently, I just don't have a very refined pallet because when I read some of these menus, I am left wondering, "what would I even order?" (bone marrow, etc.) So I am trying to broaden my culinary experience ...gently! I can always count on you hounds to steer me in teh right direction. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond.