Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Nor Style nor Substance

Via Corsini, Rome, Nov. 11—

Nè Arte nè Parte
OFF TONIGHT TO MEET friends in Testaccio, that small sector of Rome distinguished by its gridded streets and its tradition of dining on meat scraps — testament to its being the traditional butcher-shop of Rome. We'd eaten before at its most famous restaurant, Perilli, and tonight I wanted to try a Slow Food recommendation, Nè Arte nè Parte, said to be a locus of the true Roman tradtions when it comes to cuisine.
I'm afraid reactions were mixed, and colored partly by views of the service: there were six of us at table; some ordered antipasto, some not; some ordered primi to be served as secondi, and so on, and we never made clear to the service just how we wanted things done, and they (as some of us pointed out) never bothered to ask.
For my part, I was pretty well pleased. I thought my spaghetti carbonara quite good, creamy with its soft-cooked egg, piquant with its crisp bacon. The saltimbocca alla Romana was nicely pointed, and had fine soft big leaves of sage on each piece. And the chocolate-chestnut torta with whipped cream was a well-balanced constrast of textures, weights, and flavors. I'd go back. But first I'd go back to Perilli.
Bianco: Castello di Roma; Nero d'Avila 2007

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