The name of this West Village trattoria is Italian for amusement, a sentiment that’s reflected in both the decor and plating (and later, our tastebuds).Italian cuisine can begin to feel tired in the land of $1 a slice pizza joints and dime-a-dozen pasta places. But Spasso’s modern take on the classics feels like a breath of fresh air into traditional pork ragu and grilled branzino. The name of this West Village trattoria is Italian for amusement, a sentiment that’s reflected in both the decor and plating (and later, our tastebuds). The ambiance exudes the kind of rustic-but-polished feel we’d expect in the scenes of an elegant film set on the streets of New York City. Out front, walkways wrapped in warm, white strands of light lure in love-struck diners for a night of romance and relaxation. Indoors, plush booths and soft lighting offer a comfortable and decidedly classy setting for meals at Spasso.
After sitting down, folks will immediately notice the intricate sounds and intoxicating smells emanating from the open kitchen. Curious diners can peep the action that normally goes down behind the scenes, where the chef orchestrates complex flavors into approachable eats. Craftsmanship flows from the elaborate to the elementary, from the decadent grilled octopus, served alongside a charred pepper purée, to a rich house-made Stracciatella Cheese, with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. Pastas and entrées have an equally delicious range, from a simple Cotechino Tortellini to a deeply savory Pappardelle with Tomato Braised Pork Ragu. The Grilled Whole Branzino also gets intricate and herbal when paired with rosemary, thyme and arugula. If this is a breath of fresh air into Italian fare, we’ll be inhaling it many times over. Sorry, we’re not sorry, $1 pizza.
Housemade Stracciatella Cheese, $12
Grilled Octopus w/ Olives & Charred Pepper Purée, $19
Cotechino Tortellini, $21
Pappardelle with Tomato Braised Pork Ragu, $24
Grilled Whole Branzino, $31
Braised Short Rib, $27
Monday - Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Thursday - Saturday, 5:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.