NY Times Reviews Spadaro: "Very Good"
I suppose that this will begin the whole debate about Spadaro's again, but I have to agree with the reviewer: I have never had less than a wonderful meal at Spadaro's, and I always look forward to going back.
Kiss of death or continued success? One never knows with a NYT review....hope it's the latter.
I just went back to Spadaro for the first time in a while. My first experience there was fantastic, and my second was a bit disappointing. This time was somewhere in the middle, but much closer to the first. All of the food was very good, though I must say that the pastas are still over-sauced and the portions are inconsistent. The antipasto parade was as fun and delicious as ever, beginning with bruschetta and ending with some deliciously buttery mussels. Inbetween, we were presented with aged sheeps' milk cheese, hard sausage, soft prosciutto, a fresh buffalo mozzarella, some roasted peppers, green beans in garlic and oil, asparagus, an eggplant compote similar to caponata, simmered beans with pork in tomato sauce, canteloupe, and a couple of other items I can hardly recall. Then for the pastas: we ordered two traditional Roman dishes, the cacio e pepe and the amatriciana. I've had better renditions in Italy, but these were definitely the best versions you will find here in Westchester (in case anyone is curious, they make their amatriciana with onions and pancetta). Grilled shrimp and calamari were next. The calamari was terrific: tender tubes of skin-on baby calamari, smooth and tasty, without a hint of rubberiness. I could have eaten a whole platter of it, with a sprinkle of the lemon they provided and nothing else. I did not try the grilled, skewered jumbo shrimp (heads and shells intact, as they serve them in Italy), but they looked excellent and the rest of my party seemed to enjoy them. They now serve wine, so I imagine that their BYOB days are over. I noticed a fairly standard selection of about 20 wines (no wine list, the bottles are lined up against a wall), all Italian, from several regions, with Tuscany, Campania, Sicily and Piemonte being the most strongly represented. We went with the Cerasuolo di Vittoria by Planeta, which never disappoints and, IMO, goes very well with their style of food. We had a great time, despite their continuing issue of imprecision w/regard to honoring reservations and client table requests. They are simply too crowded, too busy and too 'relaxed' to make these the focus of their work, it seems. But the place is still packed and it's easy to comprehend why- they serve some of the best homestyle Italian around in the friendliest restaurant atmosphere I've experienced since the last time I dined there.
EDIT: here's a link to my past post about Spadaro: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/507753