Via Gaetano Sacchi, Roma, January 27, 2013—
AND SO IN FACT we did wind up tonight at Flavio, roundly applauded by some, denounced by others. Here's my report: the location is hard to find — take a taxi if it's dark; take your time getting there if there's daylight. The dining room is well lit, comfortable, not a traditional or conventional trattoria with wood, linen, glassware, but a more trendy appearance, open, rather brisk.
The service also brisk. Menus immediately (early in the night, at 8 pm); and the first courses quick to appear. The primi too, for that matter. The menu only in Italian, and the discussion with the waiter only in Italian, though another waiter hovered nearby and was quick to explain things in English when necessary.
Lindsey and I ordered exactly the same: the carciofo alla giudea shown here to begin with; then rigatoni alla gricia. The artichoke was the best of its sort I've ever eaten, bar none. Crisp yet still tasting of artichoke on the outside, creamy and rich inside, and better and better as you continued to eat it. Phenomenal.
The pasta was nicely cooked, toward the Sicilian taste as L. pointed out, dense and just not quite undercooked, with generous sauce, a little on the salty side as is so often the case in Rome.
At that point, after the primi were served, the service was a little less attentive — but then, the dining room was filling up. We were surprised at how quickly people ate here: eat it and beat it, as the professionals say — but in Rome?
My dessert was a nice thick ricotta cheesecake with cherries on top, quite as I had the other night, but much more artfully made. Lindsey's tiramisu was a little surprising: no liquor; cream a tiny bit ammoniated to my taste (but not Lindsey's), nice chocolate.
I liked the place, and I'd go back. Maybe not this trip; we have only another ten days or so; there are many places to explore. But I'll go back one day.
vino bianco della casa…
•Flavio al Velavevodetto, Via di Monte Testaccio 97, Rome; +39 065744194
(The name means something like "I told you so," according to Elizabeth Minchilli.)