Via Gaetano Sacchi, Roma, January 31, 2013—
WE HAD LOOKED AT this place many times in the course of our daily walks through the San Cosimato market en route from our apartment to virtually any other destination. It had been recommended by our landlord, and by two or three people stopped at random on the street. So tonight we decided to give it a try: with mixed results, in my opinion.
We ate early, at eight o'clock; the dining room was empty, the four or five television screens playing soccer highlights. By the time we'd finished eating, about an hour and a half later, the place had pretty well filled up. The menu's fairly long, and there were a couple of specials on each section — primi, secondi. So we started with filetti, deep-fried fillets of salt cod, nice fish but a little too much batter; and then went on to these ravioli, filled with verdure and sprinkled, as you see, with fried sage leaves. Delicious, but, again, a little too doughy.
I had a little talk with the proprietor, a middle-aged woman who'd been hovering about the room. The ravioli had been filled with cauliflower and potato, she said, bristling a bit when I asked if there were also breadcrumbs in the mix: Pane, no signore, sicuramente no. I asked how business was: not good since the crisi, she said; people are not eating out as much as before. What's to be done about it? No one knows. Daily life is still good, day to day, it's when you think about how long it can continue to be good, that's when you get preoccupied.
We took our dessert at Fata Morgana across the street, the excellent gelateria we've come to depend on. Riso today! I've been looking for
rice ice cream for eight or ten years now, with no success whatever, and here it is! Riso e vainiglia, to be precise, nicely rice-flavored, with little kernels of al dente rice in the frozen custard, creamy and delicious; and below it in the little cup I had a scoop of "Kentucky," very dark chocolate flavored with a little tobacco, reminding me of the Latakia crème anglaise Lindsey used to make back in Jeremiah's day at Chez Panisse…
Red and white, in carafe, as usual
•Ai Spaghettari, Piazza di San Cosimato, 58, Rome; 06 580 0450