Restaurant of the Week: Spina

Tracey Ceurvels

If you’re craving freshly made pasta yet can’t foresee lugging the dusty pasta maker out of hiding or jetting off to Rome at this very moment, there’s an alternative: Spina. It might seem like an anomaly to be near Life Café and Lakeside Lounge, all the while watching pasta maker Blanca working her magic to churn out handmade gnocchi, pappardelle, malloreddus (pasta made with semolina) and other pasta right there in the cozy dining room. But Spina fits right in. The black ravioli filled with lobster came with a surprising texture: poppyseeds, which added a nice crunch. There were so many desirable pasta choices -- I was considering the farfalle with speck, cream and chanterelles ($21), but that will have to wait. Bruschetta ($6), normally banal in its execution, was served with robiola and truffle oil. Black peppercorns spiked the broth of the mussels ($12), a standout dish, though not one I would have ordered had our waitress not suggested it. For that dish alone I would return. The special of the evening, pistachio crusted rack of lamb, was served with polenta for a hearty meal on that crisp, fall-like evening. Oenophiles will enjoy the appealing wine list that is grouped, not into usual red, white and rose, but rather into flavor profiles: fruity, soft and vivid; complex and seductive; and, big, bold and spicy. We chose the Hesketh Syrah ($50) from the latter, that is, after enjoying a white, Icardi L’Aurora, described as “smelling like “Christmas,” which appealed to me because of the “nice herbal chamomile note.” For dessert, we gobbled up the tiramisu ($7), not usually high on my list but the manager, who said he doesn’t even like dessert, admitted he once ate more than one piece for lunch because it was that good. Go with friends, go with a date, and definitely go with an appetite.

175 Avenue B
(212) 253-2250

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