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Rome Fall, 2018. Notes from the City

erica | Oct 31, 201802:24 AM

Last Sunday afternoon after a two week-long driving tour beginning in Fiumicino (1 night), and moving on to Norcia (Umbria); Senigallia and Ascoli Piceno (Le Marche); and Sulmona (Abruzzo), we had a final Abruzzese lunch at the terrific L’ANGOLO D’ABRUZZO in Carsoli. From there, we drove to Ciampino airport, dropped off our car, and taxied into what might be the most fabulous city in the world: Roma!

I will write up the first two weeks of this eating extravaganza once I get home, but will try now to put down some notes as they happen during our 5 days here.

AL MORO

I’d always wanted to eat here and never got around to it. The restaurant often gets bashed for both their poor treatment of tourists, and their high prices relative to other Roman eateries in the trattoria/ristorante category. (Al Moro straddles the divide between these two categories, I think). From our experience here, these criticisms are not unjust.

We arrived right on time at 8pm, the reservation having been made by our hotel concierge, who I had asked to convey a request for front room seating. At first the waiter who was playing host appeared to not be able to find our reservation, but I showed him the card from the concierge stating that he had, indeed,, booked a table for us. Said table was then found, but only after I verbally requested the front room did he agree to seat us in this room, which eventually would be filled by Italian- and French-speaking diners.

The room is atmospheric, its wood-paneled walls covered with an assortment of colorful artworks. I began with a primi of Bavette with tellerine, a species of clam from Lazio that I had never tasted. I had requested a half order but the waiter brought a full one, saying that the chef had mistakenly plated a full order but that he would happily take it back and bring the smaller portion. Foolishly, I told him to leave the entire order which proved to be far too much to finish.

The clams were chopped and mixed with chopped bits of tomato; there were bits of shell left behind, and the dish was not close to a great spaghetti alle vongole, which I will stick to from now on when I want clams with pasta.

My partner’s Spaghetti al Moro, usually a carbonara with added peperoncino, but lacking the peperoncino on the request of the spice-hating partner, was smashing. Without a doubt the best Carbonara either of us had ever tasted, but I admit to not having vast experience with this dish. Well, that is certainly going to change. Ranks right up there with the best pastas of a pasta-laden vacation, and I was only allotted one measly bite!

For secondi, partner loved his osso buco but my single taste left me with the thought that the meat was not quite as tender as it might have been. I had had my heart set on abbacchio al forno but alas, this was not on offer last night. I chose scalloppine of veal with artichokes. Again, the meat was not as tender as it might have been but the dish was very good, if not memorable. Looking back, we should have focused more on the specials. Can an osso buco be completed in the half hour or so we waited for our secondi? No. So do they have the regular menu items prepped and then finish upon receiving the order? Do they cook osso buco hoping that someone will order the dish?

We drank a half carafe of house white with dinner. Good enough.

The check totaled 107 euro, and when the waiter put it down on the table, he whispered the dreaded “service not included.” We KNEW that this was not true but could not find a line non the bill for cover, bread, or service, so fell for the old ruse and left 10 euro in cash as a tip. This
was the first time we’ve done this in more than two weeks and afterwards, I was sorry we aquiesced

In sum: I was glad we finally ate here since I'd so long been curious. I wish I had stuck to the specials on the menu.

As to whether or not I would return: Probably not, but I would not dissuade anyone from eating here, as long as they know more or less what to expect.

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