Haute Eating: 10 Questions for Spasso’s Chef Craig Wallen

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New Italian restaurants are forever infiltrating the New York restaurant scene, but the most recent one is also noteworthy: Spasso, which opened at the beginning of January. This cozy, rustic restaurant sits on a charming West Village corner and is quickly becoming a favorite among locals. And it’s no wonder, there’s an expansive wine list, house cured meat and homemade pasta. Although it’s a perfect date place to commingle over a candle-lit table for two, you may also want to sit at the communal bar in the kitchen for a first-hand peak at Chef Wallen’s magic.

Haute Living: How are things at Spasso since opening a few weeks ago?
Craig Wallen: Extremely positive. The food came together really well, great team and great vibe. The response from locals in the neighborhood has been overwhelming and we hope to become a permanent fixture in the neighborhood.

HL: What are some of your favorite dishes at Spasso?
CW: The glutton in me loves eating the housemade stracciatella cheese and the pastas, also made in house. It makes it so easy to enjoy a simple bowl of pasta when the pasta itself is made with such care.

HL: Where do you like to dine when you’re not working?
CW: Not working?

HL: What’s your ideal meal?
CW: My wife, Natalia, is from Paraguay and parillada (grilled everything is just a part of the culture), so whenever we have the chance, it’s wood-fire grilled steak, South American sausages, a little wine to wash it down, and a good nap after.

HL: Where do you like to dine for a special occasion?
CW: We’ve had great anniversary dinners at Del Posto and Alinea in Chicago.

HL: What’s your favorite NYC neighborhood?
CW: Now it’s the West Village.

HL: What do you like to do in the city on your days off?
CW: Days off?

HL: Your favorite vacation destination?
CW: I can’t wait to get down to Paraguay and visit my wife’s family and then make a trip through Brazil and maybe Argentina!

HL: What’s your most memorable meal?
CW: Alinea in Chicago, Pappa Carbone outside of Naples.

HL: What are your five favorite ingredients?
CW: Salt, lemon, garlic, chili flake and salt…again.

HL: How are things at Spasso since opening a few weeks ago?
CW: Extremely positive. The food came together really well, with a great team and great vibe. The response from locals in the neighborhood has been overwhelming and we hope to become a permanent fixture in the neighborhood.

Spasso is located at 551 Hudson St. at West 11th; 212.858.3838

Need help finding the perfect New York City restaurant? Or want tips on cooking elegant meals at home? Contact Haute Living dining columnist Tracey Ceurvels via her blog, The Busy Hedonist, or email her with any questions.


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