Sospeso

Sospeso, we learned, is the Italian word for “suspended,” and comes from a tradition in which a person with a few extra bucks can anonymously pay for a cup of coffee for some yet-to-be-determined person in need who comes asking for one, like the movie Pay It Forward, but with coffee.

My in-laws had already all but demolished a plate of burrata by the time I arrived, but they did graciously allow me to taste the last nibble of cheese and the dregs of balsamic drizzle smeared all over the plate. Delicious, but obviously not pictured.

I ordered the Make It Fun(gh)ky, which was very strongly bourbon-y, slighly sweet and herbal, and, although it was advertised as containing mushroom syrup, if that’s something worrying to you, never fear. It’s undetectable. My FIL got Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire, and mezcal lovers like ourselves can’t go wrong with this one either.

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Starting with my entree: the tuna steak. It was perfectly seared and beautifully rare inside. Raw fennel and aleppo pepper sauce kept it really fresh and light, and the fish was just slightly oversalted. This was a great light option.

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My FIL ordered the trout rillette appetizer as his entree and remarked that he couldn’t even tell it was fish. It was creamy and herby, although I don’t know if it was big enough to call it a real meal.

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Grandma ordered the lamb shank and it was delivered on a grand, kingly platter. The only real way to eat this is to pick up the bone with one fist and gnaw the meat off like a wolf attending a Renaissance Faire.

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Fortunately, that was not necessary. The meat came clean off the bone. It was very flavorful if just a little dry. What appear to be beans are really marcona almonds with a pleasant crunch. Although there was a slight sweetness, I think this could have used some more raisins or other fruit, and the bulgur pilaf just lent more dryness. Overall, though, I was happy to bring this one home as leftovers.

My MIL had the mushroom risotto. It was pleasantly chewy and cheesy and mushroomy. If you like risotto this is probably delicious, but we all know I just don’t get it.

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We finished the night with some delicious coffees, although we ordered and paid the regular way. I was impressed by the lattes too.

Price: $45 per person.

Bottom line: Sospeso is not life-changing but it’s full of interesting flavors. I’ll be back for sure!

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