Spina

0 Love It
East Village

Plenty of restaurants make fresh pasta, but Gramercy Italian eatery i Trulli was among the first to take the activity out of the kitchen and put it into the dining room. The flourish was a boon for that restaurant when it opened in 1994—one can imagine that the folks at Spina hoped for a similar success when they hired Blanca Rincon, formerly of i Trulli, to bring the same fanfare to this humble East Village spot. Rincon’s station is the most compelling aspect of this simple, brick-walled dining room. She thumbs her way through orechiette and handles translucent sheets of dough with the ease of a magician. The fruits of her labor are phenomenal—we’d sooner eat them with a simple pat of butter than have them muddled by the poor sauces from chef Roberto Patriarca, also an i Trulli alum. The maccheroncini arrived smothered in an underseasoned saffron-scented cream sauce tossed with zucchini and tiny shrimp. The lasagna was cemented together with gluey bolognese and buffalo mozzarella, a superfluous bowl of tepid tomato sauce alongside it. Though noodles are the main event here (there are 13 to choose from), the rest of the menu functions like an Italian tapas bar, with small shareable plates and a handful of larger ones. We couldn’t find a standout among the former—a squid-and-artichoke fritter was a one-note grease bomb. But we enjoyed a special entre of rib eye for two, boasting a crunchy char, pink interior, and a side of crisp Tuscan fries tossed with rosemary and garlic. It’s a fine dish, but not suitable as the draw of a self-proclaimed “fresh pasta house.”—TONY

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Venue name: Spina
Contact:
Address: 175 Ave B
New York

Cross street: at 11th St
Opening hours: Tue–Thu 5:30–11:30pm; Fri 5:30pm–12:30am; Sat 11am–3:30pm, 5:30pm–12:30am; Sun 11am–3:30pm, 5:30–11:30pm
Transport: Subway: L to First Ave; 6 to Astor Pl
Price: Average main course: $15. AmEx, Disc, MC, V
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