Thursday, July 16, 2009

Review: Crispi's Italian Cuisine

Crispi's Italian Cuisine of 136 Broad St. (Route 18) in Bridgewater, Mass is a nice place to go for a night out with your significant other. But notice, I didn't say a quiet night out, because once you step inside the restaurant, it's anything but. It's a classic representation of a loud, Italian family style dinner, and because it was packed the night we went, I felt like I was enjoying just that. So if you're looking for a quiet place, don't go to Crispi's. If you don't mind the boisterous noise that comes along with any Mediterranean, family-style restaurant, then definitely make an appoint to go, because it's well worth it. We went on a Thursday night and, purely by chance, we got lucky. Thursdays are half price wine night, where every wine on the list is half off. Thanks to this special, which we didn't know about, we were able to enjoy two $10+ glasses of wine, for about $10 total.

Now, on to the food. They started off the meal, like any good Italian restaurant does, with warm bread and oil to dip it in. The oil was so-so, but it had nothing on the garlic rosemary oil that they give you at Bertucci's. Still, it was a nice way to start out the meal. We decided to share an appetizer and a salad, so we got the seafood stuffed mushrooms ($7) and the fresh mozzarella and plum tomato salad ($9). The mushrooms were nicely seasoned and very tender and the seafood stuffing was light and very flavorful. The salad was almost a classic caprese, but they were skimpy on the fresh basil and there was no balsamic or any other dressing on the salad itself. Just a side of balsamic vinaigrette which tasted like it was from a bottle. It was still good, with very fresh tomatoes, but it just wasn't executed as well as it could have been for a $9 price tag.

For dinner we decided to split an entree also. We decided on the Chicken Crispino ($15), described as "a boneless breast of chicken with our homemade stuffing, prosciutto and mozzarella, topped with bacon and rosemary in a mushroom and Marsala wine sauce". All of the entrees come with pasta, and we had been looking forward to the homemade gnocchi the entire time, only to find out that they unfortunately didn't have any more left, so we decided on the homemade cheese ravioli instead.

The dinner was good, but wasn't exactly what we were expecting. The chicken was tender and flavorful, but the stuffing was more mushy than anything. It didn't really have any texture and you definitely couldn't distinctly taste the prosciutto or the mozzarella. The sauce did make up for the lack of flavor in the stuffing, however. It had a very rich red wine flavor, and the mushrooms were cooked nicely. Some of the bacon was a little bit fatty, not cooked completely crisp, which in combination with the wet sauce did not have the most pleasing mouth texture. But the fresh rosemary, which was used a bit too sparingly in my opinion, along with all of the other flavors, really tied the entire dish together. I only had one bite with a fresh rosemary leaf, but let me tell you that one bite was delicious because the rosemary complemented everything and it also consisted of a nicely cooked bite of bacon to go along with the stuffed chicken. Although the sauce was good overall, it could have been plated with a slightly lighter hand, because the chicken was basically swimming in it. Overall though, the Crispini was a pretty good, very rich and filling dish.

I had thought that the ravioli were going to be served on the plate with the chicken, in that sauce, as spaghetti would be with a parmigiana. Instead, there were four ravioli total, and they were served in a tiny bowl with a scoop of watery, over seasoned marinara. The ravioli that came with the dish was at best average. The pasta was fine, but it was a bit overcooked and the filling lacked flavor. The dried oregano in the sauce was used in excess, and combined with the watery tomato texture, the flavor was way too strong. Definitely not worth the $3 up charge that we paid for the homemade pasta.

Overall, the food at Crispi's was pretty good. I would definitely go back again to sample some of their other menu items and I would definitely recommend going on a Thursday night, because you can't beat the half price option for their entire wine list which is very extensive.

*All of Crispi's menus are available at their website listed above.


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