Monday, September 21, 2009

Rome: Dinner at Pierluigi

I just finished raving about the "Slow Food" recommendations, basically saying that you just need to pick up a copy of that book and end your research there, but if you are heading to Rome, the New York Times entries by Frank Bruni and Mimi Sheraton here, here, and here are useful reads.

Pierluigi was one of the restaurants that we learned about from these articles. As with just about every other restaurant in the city, Pierluigi was closed the night before (a Monday on August), so we came back on Tuesday and it more than made up for our bad eating experience the night before.

This was actually one of the nicer restaurants that we went to, in the sense that it had white table cloths, nice table settings, a high wait staff to customer ratio, and price tags to match. All of the food here was very well executed and I would say that it is a fine example of what good Italian food can be.

Pierluigi is located in a small piazza near the Campo de Fiori, and when the weather is nice, the restaurants seating expands to fill much of the small piazza. As a nice bonus, it sounded like a conservatory of some sort was located in one of the buildings adjacent to the plaza, and the music from practicing students was a nice accompaniment to the beginning of our meal.

We started with soppressata di pulpo (an octopus carpacio) and bresaola di Valtellina (a salad of brasaola topped with arugula and pecorino.

The octopus was a really cool looking dish and it was quite a novel preparation. The braseola salad was a really great, simple dish that I'll definitely be repeating at home.
For our primi, I ordered orecchiette with wild broccoli and Abby ordered the taglioline with porcini mushroom.

The orrechiette was perfectly cooked and the sauce was nice and light, bringing out the flavor of the broccoli without overpowering the pasta. I didn't try Abby's dish, but she said it was really good. I'll take her word for it.For secondi, we ordered scaloppini al pepe rossa (veal scaloppini with a pink peppercorn sauce) and zuppa di vongole veraci.
The scaloppine (above), certainly wasn't very picturesque, but it tasted great. The veal itself doesn't have a really powerful flavor, so this was all about the sauce. The pink peppercorns were, for the most part, left whole. These are much mellower than black peppercorns and they had a nice piquant flavor that lingers for a while.
The clam soup included fresh tomatoes and a bunch of small climbs, sort of like cockles, in a white wine broth along with a bunch of croutons that were perfect for soaking up the sauce. This was a really nice, clean dish.

All in all, this was a successful meal and I would second the NYTimes recommendation for this place.

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