Thursday, April 2, 2009
Had another great dinner last night with Jacki and Elizabeth, something we've decided to start doing monthly. I had been to Enoteca Roma once before with Dinner Club, and I was curious if the restaurant was great, or if I was influenced by my company. The answer is Yes. The food was great, the conversation greater. In both cases.
This restaurant is no scene. It's so neighborhood, with the good food and good wine and good atmosphere, that it would be hard for me to have a bad time there. After we'd totally finished eating, there was no rush put on us to get out of there, which to me is the best feeling when I am out to eat, and so authentic to the way Italians do dining, that based on my two experiences there, bring me to the conclusion that indeed, I love this restaurant.
It is small, with tiny tables pushed and scrunched together. But they do expand into the bakery next door, so we never felt too packed in. They also have a large outdoor patio, and while it was way too cold to eat outside that night, they provide individual warm blankets if you opt to do so. The two guys next to us got their meals (whole wheat gnocchi) before we did and the scent of it made me weak with anticipation of our first course. The Polenta.
I would go back and make the polenta my main course if the circumstances allowed (i.e. I went with someone just to get the polenta). I think there were five combinations with one "special" of this dish. They bring it out all soupy in this ceramic crock and pour it onto this marble slab right at your table, then top it with the ingredients you choose. Ours was a white bean (I forget the name), tomato, prosciutto (chunks, not sliced) and fresh garlic and basil combination, topped with freshly shaved Parmesan cheese.
It "sets up" while you wait, watching the cheese melt on top, and then you use a spatula to bring pieces of it to your plate. I don't have a thing for polenta in general, but this polenta is to die for. Then we split our entrees on little plates. I got the risotto pescatora, since I can't for the life of me pass up an opportunity to eat scallops. Jacki ordered the pear stuffed ravioli with a Gorgonzola and walnut cream sauce, and Elizabeth got the skewered grilled prawns and tomatoes, over a bed of spinach in a light lemon "sauce". What a taste sensation of flavors, and what a way to have them all with a glass of wine (or 3).
I'd be crazy not to mention that the people I had both meals with at this restaurant MADE the meal. Our conversations were interesting, illuminating, insightful, thoughtful and just overall special, which never hurts when you're out to eat in my opinion. But to top it off, the establishment itself allowed us to do it. When we were sitting there with an empty table except for 3 ice waters for the last twenty minutes, I never once felt that I was imposing. The website describes the intention to fulfill a "desire to have a place like the ones I grew up with in Roma, Italy. A comfortable place, where you can have a great meal, and drink a glass of wine and relax". They succeeded. It was exactly what we did.
The conversation wasn't bad either. Yum.
I got SO distracted by the chatting that I completely forgot to snap pics of the rest of it, although, the polenta was the best, so maybe that's for the best too.