The search for good food on the Upper West Side continues... and me and Mom just may have hit the jackpot at Spiga. This uptown offshoot of the popular East Village spot Cacio e Pepe has been open for about a year and a half now, and though it wasn't close to full when we were there last Monday night, and it's a little more expensive than you'd like it to be, the kitchen definitely seems to know what they're doing with what I guess you'd call creative Italian cuisine.
We started simply, with a bright and summery Insalata Mista, a nice pile of greens punctuated by grapefruit slices and shredded peaches, and then roofed by several large shavings of sharp parmesan. For our Primi we split a pasta, an excellent Garganelli with fava beans, pancetta and pecorino. My mom couldn't stop raving about this dish, and I was pretty excited myself: the beans were firm and flavorful, the pasta perfectly chewy, the bacon crisp and salty, the sauce creamy and cheesy. Well balanced; well-executed. It'd be difficult to not order this again.
I went solo on the Secondi and had the Trancio di Baccala' al Vapore (or, steamed codfish) with tomato sauce and—the primary reason I was tempted—a side of toasted almond ice cream. The fish was beautifully cooked, the sauce intense and acidic, and the ice cream, delicious unto itself, proved to be an outstanding complement to the rest of the dish, either taken together with the fish or used as a refresher between bites. After two such delicious offerings, dessert was a letdown. Not that there was anything truly bad about our Granita al Caffé, it just wasn't all that special, either, with too many large slivers of plain-old ice detracting from the espresso-ness of the granita, ending what was a memorable meal on a rather blah, nine-dollar note.
Spiga is located on 84th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam. The place is pretty small, the decor pseudo-rustic, the service servicable. The only credit card they accept is American Express.