Genoa, October 8, 2016—
WE COULDN'T GET IN last night; we won't be able to tonight — but the restaurant I'm most curious about turns out to have a table for six at midday. But where is it?
Various map apps suggested it was fairly far from our hotel, on a fairly complicated path. And then there were six of us, occasionally with different ideas about where it might be.
Do know the Salita Fonduca, I asked a waiter standing outside a cafe. Where's the Salita Fonduca, he asked another waiter just inside. I heard him repeat the question yet again, to the barman, further inside. Things did not look promising.
But a small bus full of police pulled into the piazza and parked, so I asked one of them. Oh, the Salita Fonduca, you just go to the end of the piazza, at the church, and turn left around the corner, and the Salita is right there on you left.
Companion and I followed his instructions, and in three minutes stood in front of our restaurant, only a few minutes late for our reservation, and wondered where our four friends were.
They showed up soon enough, and we set to. I began with tartare di manzo e prescinsoa, that last word meaning "sprouts", and continued with maialino con castagne. (What disgusting carnivores we can be, to be sure.)
The tartare was sweet and solid, as usual, lacking savory accompaniments like pickle, capers, even onion — just the meat itself, with a splash of olive oil. It was not the best I've had in the last few days, but it was good.
The little pig, on the other hand, was marvelous. You'd have thought you were in Madrid. Crackling, fat, and lean meat were in perfect balance, and the flavor was subtle but complex.
Dessert: Sacripantina: cake, moist with liquor, surrounding rich semifreddo, with whipped cream on the side. Rich, medieval, substantial.
Pigato; Vino rosso "Il Rosso di Rosmarino", Monterasso da Mare (Liguria)
Rosmarino, Salita del Fondaco 30, Genoa; +39 010 2510475
WE TOOK OUR DINNER at a place near the hotel recommended by the night clerk. I had misgivings about this but went along with the rest of our crowd, and I was glad I did: it was one of the pleasantest places we've visited.
I began with Lardo di conca con miele d'acacia, then turned to Bocconcini di manzo al vino rosso e ratouille di campo. The lardo was exceptional; not pure white but streaked with pink meat, supple and tender and very nice with the acacia honey.
The beef was braised, then diced and stewed in indeed a ratatouille: eggplant, zucchini, carrot, dark olives, the whole lightened a bit with torn leaves of basil. I would not have thought of such a dish, though I suppose it's related to a Provencal boeuf daube. It was rich and satisfying.
Al Rustichello, Via G. Vincenzo 59D, Genova; 010 588556