Saturday, May 23, 2015

Neither trattoria nor restaurant

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Via Villa Pamphily, May 23, 2015—
ALMOST TWO O'CLOCK Saturday afternoon: where to eat today? The first two or three places we phoned were full, of course, what with wedding parties, graduations, and whatnot.

So we did a little websurfing and my contessa came up with this place, a ten-minute walk from our apartment. And here I feasted:
Saltimbocca di Capasanta con la sua Mayonese, Patata fondente, Rapa rossa e Chips di Fiore di Zucca

Tagliolini all'Uovo con Ragú bianco di Piccione con Cipollotto Asparagi e Lamponi

Il Controfiletto di Scottona marchigiana con Lardo e Radicchio brasato
which is to say,
Sea scallops with mayonnaise, puréed potato, beetroot, and fried zucchini blossom
Egg noodles in white pigeon ragout with onion, asparagus, and raspberry

Grilled heifer steak with lardo and braised radicchio
or, basically, surf and turf.

This was a very rich meal for me — in the last few years I have not been able to eat rich foods as easily as in younger days — but I shouldered my way into the meal and did myself credit, I think.

The scallops were of course not really saltimbocche but managed to look like them, which was the point; and the preparation was both rich and delicate, very nicely balanced, with potatoes slightly tasting of white truffle.

The tagliolini were perfectly cooked, the onion and asparagus chopped and softened in olive oil along with chunks of previously cooked (I think) pigeon. The raspberries were puréed and drizzled over the completed preparation, garnished with what looked like very young purslane.

The steak, oh my, that was quite delicious, cooked perfectly to order, salted but innocent of further flavoring — well, maybe a little olive oil — and the braised radicchio a fine complement, slightly bitter, neither tender nor tough, a vegetable that can stand up to a beefsteak.

The service was friendly and knowledgeable, and the cooks quick, deft, and gifted. I would go back here any day of the week.

white, then red
•L'Osteria di Monteverde, Pietro Cartoni, 163, Roma; 06 5327 3887
Restaurants visited in 2015 are listed at Eatingday's Restaurants

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