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Crispo - report (long)

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Crispo - report (long)

shortstop | Nov 2, 2002 09:30 AM

I finally made it back to Crispo a couple of Saturday nights ago, this time with a reservation, made well in advance, hoping I would get a better feel for the place eating dinner in the dining room as opposed to at the bar. My first visit there they wouldn’t seat me in the dining room, saying those tables were reserved, even after I promised to give the table back prior to the time of whenever the reservation was – and those tables went unseated my whole meal. Well last night, upon being seated at a 2-top in the middle of a rather cramped banquette, I noticed a lovely 2-top over by the wall that was empty and asked if we could sit there. The hostess said it was "reserved," I said had a "reservation." She said there was a specific reservation for that table. I asked if she would go back and check if we could sit there. She said she would. She never came back. Not an auspicious start as far as I was concerned. I have no problem with being told "No," in that situation, but just come back and say something.

The waiter was perfunctory in his drink request and specials reading – felt like the bartender who waited on me last time – just not warm enough for my taste, now by the end of the evening we had warmed him up a bit, but it took a little doing. We also had to remind them to bring the bread long after we had ordered, as did the table next to us.

OK, onto the meal – appetizers were grilled Portobello salad with asparagus and frisée, the mushrooms were flavorful and juicy. Fried Calamari with fried parsley and slices of fried lemon, an interesting touch in an otherwise average version of the dish, except that the tomato sauce for dipping had a little kick to it.

My Veal Agnolotti with Wild Mushrooms was good and my dining companion thoroughly enjoyed the Hangar Steak on a Carrot Risotto pancake.

We ordered the Apple Cornmeal Crumble for dessert, which came with a Mascarpone sherbet. Now the idea of sherbet in any flavor with Apple Crumble did not appeal to me in the least, so as I am known to do, I swapped the sherbet for Maple ice cream. The crumble with the ice cream was very good and at $5.50, especially so.

We enjoyed our meal but I feel there’s something lacking here service-wise – it’s as if the folks in the front of the house folks are all restaurant business neophytes and do not understand the whole "warm and welcoming" thing. Yes, the manager remembered me from the last time after I introduced myself, but never took it past that point either by making the effort to walk us to our table himself, or coming over during the meal to see how it was going. Yes, they are hot but no restaurant can afford to "ignore" returning customers.

So overall, the food is good for the price, but when choosing where to spend my dining dollars, service-wise this place just doesn’t do it for me, so I wouldn’t rush back.

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