Back in Rome – Hurrah! I have such a lot of work on right now – Boo/Hiss but also Hurrah! I’ve had visitors so I’ve been eating out more than usual. I’ll be writing about that in the next few posts but after that, we’re switching back to History Channel mode for awhile because I am not planning to eat again until Christmas. Last night I had dinner at Luce 44, a newish restaurant in an off-the-beaten-track part of Trastevere. Luce 44 replaced a much beloved spot that I never learned the name of but which had great ravioli. And I don’t even eat pasta. Yes, I know – I’m weird that way. Luce 44 calls itself a ristorante biologico (meaning organic) and zero impact, shortest possible production chain. All good. It’s a cute little place: clean. well-lighted. Lots of artsy art (for sale) on the walls. The menu, which changes every month, has a slightly Middle Eastern/slightly vegetarian sort of vibe. This set off some warning signals for me – my brain tends to explode a little bit whenever I see a menu featuring more than one dish involving tofu. But it was pretty good, some negatory reviews on the internet notwithstanding. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say it was very good. And sadly, fairly empty on a Friday night when other far less deserving places had lines out the door. I had a falafel/tzatsiki starter, which I enjoyed a lot. The tzatsiki, in particular, was outstanding.
Jane had a sort of pumpkin flan swimming in a sort of cheesy sauce. Very light and super yum.
Next I had meatballs in tomato sauce.
I love meatballs so much and you can hardly ever find them on a menu. I know, right? All American kids grew up thinking that spaghetti and meatballs was the classic Italian dish, only to have their dreams dashed when they arrive in Rome and were faced with 300 different shapes of pasta and 300 different kinds of sauces, none of them involving meatballs. This probably disappointed them for about a second but what do I know? Not a big pasta fan. Meatballs! I also had Belgian endive, another thing you never see on menus in these here parts. Braised with balsamic vinegar. Very very nice.
Nevertheless, it did occur to me that it’s a bit weird that a restaurant that makes such a big deal of the zero kilometre thing should feature a vegetable named after an entirely different country. Jane had cod poached in an herby broth and roasted potatoes with rosemary. Cod is most often battered here, a la fish and chips. Jane worked at a grocery store during college. This was in the UK and they used to love to commandeer the public address system for comedic effect: “Eh what, matey. ‘Av you got a price on the battered cod pieces?” Which, for a lapsed Shakespearean scholar such as myself is pruriently hilarious. And she also had a tasty plate of peppery bieta.
All in all a tasty meal, and not particularly expensive. We were discussing how restaurant food in Rome has gotten progressively fancier over the past few years. It’s gotten harder and harder to find classic Roman dishes on the menu. This is good and bad in my view. I do enjoy the inventive stuff but I also miss the classics. Luce 44 is neither. It’s straightforward organic food, not fancy, but good. Very friendly staff. Go. Ristorante biologico Luce 44 Indirizzo: Via della Luce, 44 – 00153 Roma (RM) Numero di telefono: +39065800846 Sito internet: http://www.luce44.it