Thursday, October 10, 2013

Crisp - A New Osterville Hangout!

Osterville certainly needs more dining choices and we finally have one.  Crisp at 791 Main Street in Osterville.   In a former life it was a pizza place and a coffee shop.   It is owned by the 5 Bays people.

I've been there twice.  I'll say right off the bat, I do like it.   It's got a great vibe.  However, there are a few negatives to my review, so read on.

They do have a small parking lot, a plus in Osterville but small is the operative word.  I've been lucky to get a space on the street each time I've gone but I suppose one could park in the big lot by Wimpys. They have a great outdoor seating area that has 2 fire pits and last night even the outdoor area was full.

The inside is an inviting, warm bistro.  With a large marble bar, nice wood high top tables and a couple of booths.  There is an open fire pizza oven that makes the place seem cozy and it smells like a wood fire.  This is the sort of place I love.

My first visit there was last Friday.  I met a bunch of people there from our "Friday Night" group and we all sat at one of the high top tables.  A few members of our group had one drink and left because Crisp only serves beer and wine and I guess they can't live without mixed drinks.   I'm fine with that and they have a nice wine list and some interesting beers.

I split my dinner with a friend and had the Caprese Salad and Shrimp Aglio e Olio.  As many of my readers know I have to be gluten free and Crisp has GF pasta on hand.  Both dishes were good.  And the GF pasta was a linguine and was cooked al dente.  Very nice.  I guess if I had to make a complaint about either dish it would be that the Shrimp dish was not as visually appealing as I would have liked, everything was pale in it.  But it tasted great.

I was there again last night, same great crowd and I'm still loving that wood fire smell.  This time we sat at the bar.  The bartender (Liam?) was adorable and I'd go back just to look at him.  (ok I'm old enough to be his mother but so what!?)  The place was quite crowded for a Wednesday night and I knew a few people in the crowd so that was fun.

Again I split my meal with a friend, we had the Rocket Salad and gluten free Margherita pizza.
The salad was fine but the greens are so...thin that you can't stab them with a fork.  So you have to shovel them all on to your fork with a knife or your finger.  I'd have liked it better if there was some other type of lettuce mixed in there that was a bit firmer so I could actually stab the arugula against it.  Small complaint but it was hard to eat.

My real problem was with the GF pizza.  I've been GF for about 11 years now so I get how hard it is to make a really good GF pizza.  That being said, it has been done.  Prior to ordering it we did ask if it was a thin and crispy crust.  We were told yes.

The first problem arose when it took more than 45 minutes after we ordered it to get it.  Maybe they make the GF dough to order but if so they really should tell people that order it there will be a LONG wait.

The next mistake was the size.  It's tiny.  The other pizza's they serve there (made with flour) are large. So we should have been told up front that the GF pizza was very small.  And the bottom of it was almost raw.  It was certainly not crispy.  I wouldn't exactly call it a thin crust either.

Worse I don't think we got the Margherita pizza we ordered.  It was more like the Pollo without chicken.  It had the balsamic drizzle on it (which you can clearly see in the pix here) which is not mentioned on the menu for the Margherita pizza but balsamic vinegar is listed for the Pollo pizza. Maybe it was a hybrid but I don't especially like balsamic vinegar on my pizza which is why I ordered the Margherita.  (I know it's the latest thing but when did they start putting vinegar on pizza?)

However; by that time we had waited so long for the pizza I was starving and just wanted to eat.

The very best GF pizza I've ever had is at the Risotteria in NYC.  It is to die for.  (hint hint Crisp, they sell their pizza dough frozen and in a mix). It's so good it really isn't fair to use it as a comparison to anyone else (but I do because if the folks at the Risotteria can make GF pizza dough that tastes so wonderful then really other people should be able to as well).  I actually go to NYC just to get pizza.

However, there is one place on the Cape that has really good GF pizza and my feeling is the chef at Crisp should sneak over to this place and try their GF pizza.  In terms of goodness it's close to the Risotteria, not equal, mind you.  But close.  (drum roll)  It's at Wicked Pizza in Mashpee.

First of all at Wicked their pizza is big, like the non GF pizza's they serve.  And the dough is rolled very very thin. This is important with GF pizza because in my experience it is very difficult to cook it thru and get it crispy on the bottom if it isn't super thin.  When you get a pizza at Wicked its very thin, cooked all the way thru, and boy is it crispy.  That's how a GF pizza should be.

That is not close to what we got at Crisp.  I don't know for sure, but I bet the chef at Crisp does not have to be GF and I'm also betting that he/she has not had a lot of experience with GF pizza. I can only hope they take my advice and try a few so they can make some adjustments to their recipe.

And sadly it really didn't taste that good. The crust was just sort of chewy and tasteless.  My friend who dined with me does not have to be gluten free so it was a bummer for her.  She did get to taste the non gluten free pizza from a friend that was sitting near us and said it was good (it looked good, big pie, thin crust and crispy)

I'd suggest that you stick with the GF pasta and skip over the pizza until they make some improvements.

So there is my review, a bit mixed.  I'll certainly go there again but I'm not going to order pizza.  You can see the Crisp menu here.

(click on the pix to see larger versions)


  1. Stone L'oven in Falmouth has awesome GF pizza as well. I'd put them on par with Wicked!

  2. I don't get to Falmouth too often but clearly I have to! Thanks for the tip


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