Somehow, I talked my visiting mother into going out to dinner below 42nd Street last night. (I don't know how it happened; I'm still in shock that she agreed.) Being mainstays of the Upper West Side, I decided not to shock her too much and took her to Crispo for dinner. I'd never been, but it had been recommended by friends.
In a word, it was just lovely. We shared some of the antipasti (the roasted red peppers with capers, the ricotta tartuffo and the sausage-stuffed sage leaves.) Each was very good in their own way, my favorite being the ricotta. With the added taste of the truffle oil whipped in, it had a really great taste and was perfect on their peasant-style bread. We both agreed that we liked the sage leaves - they're basically save leaves rolled around sausage and then dipped in batter and fried. It was something very different from what we normally eat, and we enjoyed it. (Total for those three items was $12.50.)
My mom had a crispy veal special, that was served with melted mozzarella and spinach. I tasted it and it was really quite good - well-seasoned, crispy and nicely balanced with the cheese and a little tomato sauce. I ate the pasta special, which was a mushroom papardelle. It was really super - thick chunks of meaty mushrooms in a really light sauce went very well with the wide, yet super thin papardelle. (I think my mom's entree was $19 and mine was $21.)
We both also really enjoyed the atmosphere - it was very laid back, a little bit "younger" than my neighborhood but not so much that my mom felt out of place. I'm sure it would have been even younger had we been there on a Friday or Saturday, instead of Sunday night. Personally, I enjoyed the soundtrack which included some nice oldies and a little Cat Stevens. The service was good and unobtrusive. All in all, a good dinner, not expensive at all, and I convinced my mother that downtown is not bad. Hooray!