Tag Archives: rome

Noi Due Carne

I’m always excited to discover a good new Italian place. Noi Due Carne really hits the high mark. Let me get right into it, before I reveal a surprise that I’m meaning to save until the end.

Fried baby artichokes:

I haven’t seen these since Rome, and they were every bit as good here as they were there. Perfectly golden crisp, expertly seasoned, and garnished with a bright citrusy sauce. I could eat this by the bucket.

Grilled marinated sweetbreads:

By far the best sweetbreads I have ever had. They were tender yet firm at the same time, not mushy and watery like other sweetbreads I’ve had. No sinew. All flavor. Amazing.

Spiced lamb flatbread:

You can pass on this. The dough or bread portion is just not up to par.

Beef carpaccio:

This was nicely drizzled with balsamic and had great texture from the crispy sweet potato.

Artichoke ravioli with a lemon and white wine sauce:

These were incredible. I get excited about anything artichoke-related, but my excitement is usually tempered by shitty execution. This place nails both artichoke dishes.

Cavatelli with short rib ragu:

Cavatelli is my favorite pasta. The beef was nicely prepared, and had a pop of interesting flavor from the pomegranate. I liked this.

This baby was made for going viral.

That may look like just an ordinary large meatball, but look inside:

That’s right. Spaghetti INSIDE your meatball!

Not really my cup of tea. Both components end up being a bit off when they’re cooked this way, and I feel like the dish is really only designed for the shock value of the presentation. The meatball itself was nice and spicy though, and the sauce on the plate was well prepared. This is probably something that’s fun to order for the kids though, since kids can sometimes be really picky eaters. Adults should pass on this. Especially men.

Half chicken al Mattone:

This had a great crispy skin on it. The chicken itself was a bit dry in parts, and I wasn’t the biggest fan of the sweet potato puree underneath. But overall this dish was delicious.

Veal Milanese:

This was perfect. Pounded thin and flat, lightly breaded, and fried to a beautiful golden crisp.

26oz rib eye for two:

This is pricey at nearly $130, but there was no waste on it and no bone to beef up the weight numbers.

This was a 9/10 too. The simple olive oil and sea salt preparation really allowed the quality of the beef (USDA prime) to shine. It even tasted dry aged to me.

On the side we had some veggies and fries. Both just okay.

Dessert consisted of some kind of stacked, light, airy pastry with some sort of whipped topping and fruit…

A chocolate mousse cake of come kind, with some kind of frozen treat on top – like an ice cream…

And fondue with frozen banana, ginger snap cookies, marshmallows and strawberries:

The reason I’m cryptic about the pastry and the cake/ice cream is because, well, this place is Kosher, and I really have no idea how they pulled off pastry, whipped cream, cake and ice cream without using dairy. My wife would know, but I haven’t the slightest. Everything was really good.

But yes, that’s right: This place is Kosher. That’s the surprise I hinted about up top. This was the best Kosher meal I’ve ever had in the city, and I think I’ve had three or four? I would definitely eat here again. The fried artichoke, the sweetbreads, the artichoke ravioli and the steak were all top notch amazing dishes. Don’t PASS OVER (KNEE SLAP!) this place just because it’s Kosher and Kosher joints have a reputation for bad food.

NOI DUE CARNE
143 W 69th St
New York, NY 10023

Bonci USA

Bonci is one of the best pizza joints I’ve ever eaten at in my life.

My wife and I first encountered this place in Rome, at their flagship location behind the Vatican. Then I heard they opened up shop in Chicago. This was one of the primary reasons I decided to book the trip to Chicago. yes. Pizza. Not so much the steak. Anyway, this place is just as good as the Rome location.

With the added benefit of free sparkling water on tap!

For those that don’t know, Roman style pizza is the shit. It’s a square pie, more like focaccia bread almost, but with pizza toppings. Crispy, light, fluffy, thick, airy, puffy. All that good shit. Well risen.

You order by weight at these places, so they will cut it up as thick or thin as you like. I went for sicilian slice sizes of four different styles, and the price came to about $33 for nearly a full pie’s worth.

That’s traditional margherita, nduja and potato, spicy sausage, and soppressata and potato – all with varying amounts of fresh mozzarella, ricotta, tomato etc. Fucking amazing.

The only place that comes close is PQR in Manhattan. If you want this experience closer to home without having to travel to Rome or Chicago, then go there. They do great work.

BONCI USA
161 N Sangamon St
Chicago, IL 60607

PQR Pizza

When my wife and I were in Italy, we went bonkers for Bonci Pizzarium near the Vatican, and we’ve been craving it ever since. A brand new pizza joint on the upper east side, PQR, brought me right back there.

I have to say this is one of my new favorite spots in the city. Roman style pizza just works on so many levels. If you’ve never had it before, this is an exemplary representation. The dough/crust is perfectly crisp yet puffy and airy, and they’re generous with their high quality toppings.

Get the spicy soppressata with grape tomato and the sliced potato with truffle sauce. You’ll thank me later.

Spicy Soppressata:

Sliced Potato & Truffle:

Sliced Potato & Porchetta:

Traditional Mozz & Tomato Sauce:

PQR
1631 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10028

The Food of Italy

I just got back from a trip to Italy, and, as you can imagine, the food was, on the whole, pretty fucking incredible. My wife and I did three stops: Rome, Venice and Milan.

This could get crazy long so I’m just going to jump right into my truncated reviews.

ROME

L’Archaeologie

We hit this place for a quick lunch after touring the catacombs. Excellent pasta dishes, and this was technically our first meal in Italy. We only had two pasta dishes.

Pici carbonara:

Tagliolini with porn cheek and artichokes:

Osteria Barberini

This place had some amazing pasta. This was our first dinner in Rome, and it was a joint that was highly recommended by friends and family who had been here before.

We tried two pasta dishes; cacio e pepe, served in a bowl made of crisped cheese, and a chitarra pasta with shrimp and a ground pistachio pesto.

We also had a stuffed artichoke, and dessert…

Roscioli

This salume joint turned restaurant was highly recommended by friends and fellow foodies.

It was pretty crowded, so we sat at the bar. We kept it somewhat simple, with a plate of meats and cheeses, pasta and meatballs.

We also took in some dessert, because “when in Rome.”

Baladin (Local Brewery Bar)

This place had a great selection of local craft beers.

Bonci

Anthony Bourdain featured this pizza joint on his layover show, so we had to check it out. It was pretty fantastic.

My favorite slices were the traditional and the onion with ham.

La Prosciutteria

One thing you see a lot of in the cities of Italy are meat shops that offer amazing platters of salume for very good prices.

This is one of them. I was pretty much in heaven here, and I was annoyed that we had just eaten and couldn’t do a bigger platter.

Da Enzo

Nestled on a small street near the river, this Trastevere staple was known for their fried artichoke (which was incredible) and their ox tail. We got both, of course, along with some lasagna.

Tonnarello

I had to stop into this place just because I saw that they had “chocolate sausage” on the menu. I was thinking “Lexington Steele,” but what came out was like fudge and cake pressed into a delicious dessert log and then sliced up, served cold.

But look at the fried artichoke they had on display outside.

Gelato Shops: Giolitti and Fatamorgana

Giolitti was in the main part of Rome, and Fatamorgana was in the Trastevere neighborhood. Both served up some amazing pistachio gelato, and we even tried some Sicilian Cream flavors as well. So good. Giolitti was a full-on pastry shop as well, while Fatamorgana was just gelato.

Pasticcerie (Pastry Shops)

Pasticceria da Te is small Trastevere shop goes almost unnoticed, as there is no signage out front. We tried some chiacchiere or crostoli, which are crispy fried snacks that are often eaten when celebrating Carnivale.

 

At Forno Campo de Fiori, we tried some little doughnut balls and other patries, like sfoglie.

VENICE

Un Mondo Vino

Happy hour is big in Venice. Wines are even cheaper than usual, and they serve up “chichetti” – which are pre-prepared savory snacks – to go with the wine.

We found this little hole in the wall, called “A World of Wine,” as we were walking around. It was filled with locals, so we knew we were in a good spot. We warmed up with some hot mulled spice wine, as it was below freezing and crazy windy that day.

Osteria Ai Promessi Sposi

This little joint, tucked away down a lonesome alley, was recommended by friends of ours as a great place to eat.

Venice is known for seafood, so that’s what we were after (though the steak on the menu was really tempting). We came here at 6pm, right when they opened, and it was still crowded. Usually people don’t eat dinner until about 8pm or 9pm. But now I know why it was so crowded – the food was amazing.

Super tender braised cuttlefish with a rich, buttery black ink sauce. Usually I hate ink sauces because they taste way too fishy. This was amazing. I was slurping it up.

My grilled calamari just didnt compare to that cuttlefish dish, but it was still excellent.

Starters were burrata and mixed seafood in broth.

Gam Gam

We stopped in this joint when another restaurant nearby that we wanted to try was too crowded. This is Israeli Kosher food. I wasn’t overly impressed, but the artichoke heart dishes were delicious. One fried, one sauteed.

We also had some meze type dips, and a pappardelle pasta dish with mushrooms.

La Cantina

This joint sort of fell flat for us. The meat platter was expensive, although it was good quality and all hand cut. The seafood platter was nice too, but way overpriced. Perhaps they were trying to recoup some funds after their flood a few years back.

Alla Palazzina

After meandering around Venice looking for a late night spot to eat, we stumbled across this corner joint. Ravioli with mushroom and truffle, and a scallop and shrimp dish.

Rialto Market

What an amazing market. Fresh produce and fresh fish. And the artichoke hearts!

And all around the area are cheese vendors and butcher shops, too. My kind of spot!

Yeah – that’s horse salami.

Coffee & Pastries

These coffee shops could put Starbucks out of business if they were in the US.

And the frittelle in Venice are fucking outstanding. They’re like zeppoli, kind of, but they are often made with a flavored dough or filled with raisins, nuts, etc.

Cookies that look like fish.

A lot of these shops also sell savory items too, like pizza and panini sandwiches. Venice style pizza is more like NY thin crust.

So freaking good.

MILAN

Meucci Pizza

This was a quick lunch. We each ordered a mini pie and shared. The pizza styles are different in every city. Rome was like puffy square (what we would call Sicilian), Venice was circular and flat (like NYC style, as I mentioned above) and Milan was somewhere right in between: circular and slightly puffy.

Salsamenteria di Parma

This is another one of those wine and meat shops I mentioned above. This one was incredible. We got so much food for $20, along with free amaro afterwards. I want to go back right now.

Osteria di Brera

For our last meal in Italy, we had to try the osso buco in Milan, which is supposed to be one of the region’s specialties. It was pretty tender and flavorful! Also hit some pasta as well.

Pasticcerie (Pastry Shops)

We did a lot of browsing in these hops. I think we had a bite at one spot but I can’t remember what or where.

Like all over Italy, the bakeries also sell savory breads.

Conclusion

Italy is absolutely amazing. On our next trip, we plan to hit six more distinct locations: Amalfi coast, Sicily, Tuscany, Florence, Lake Como and Capri.