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Cacio e Pepe and a salting problem


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Cacio e Pepe and a salting problem

Eric Eto | May 14, 2006 01:38 AM

I finally got a chance to try Cacio e Pepe in the East Village. Two of us weren't going to have a big meal, but an appetizer and a pasta and be done and move on to another place for drinks and desserts. I really wanted to like the place, but I was kind of surprised by the level of salt in 3 out of 4 dishes we had. We ordered a special of burrata with prosciutto, the cuttlefish in a tomato sauce over soft polenta, a special of gnocchi in a sweet tomato sauce with shrimp, and the house cacio e pepe pasta mixed in the romano cheese wheel. The salting issue first arose with the cuttlefish dish. I know cuttlefish can be naturally salty, but it seemed completely out of balance. The cuttlefish was nicely cooked and well textured, but the soft polenta was a bit difficult to eat with a fork. The gnocchi was also very nicely textured, but the sauce, which we were told was slightly sweetened, wasn't predominantly sweet, but again, very salty. Again, out of balance. Then the cacio e pepe pasta was the most salty thing I've put in my mouth in a while. Again, I know that romano cheese is naturally salty, so I couldn't tell if there was more salt added somewhere else in the process of creating this dish. But once again, out of balance. The fresh spaghetti however, had a great texture. I've had versions of cacio e pepe pasta in Rome, and I've been wanting to find a place here that would transport me to those travels, and if it was texture alone, Cacio e Pepe would have come close. But the salting was completely overwhelming. I know others have complained about this problem at Lupa (which I haven't experienced) in the past, so I felt like I was sucker-punched with this experience. I hope this was an isolated incident, or perhaps a problem of ordering poorly, but I'm reluctant to revisit them.

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