Tuesday, June 7, 2011
If you go out to dinner a lot in Rome, you tend to see the same things over and over. That’s why the appearance of ingredients like scallops and duck make me so happy.
Anatra Grassa is one of my favorite new restaurants in Rome. Opened in 2010, it offers a completely different dining experience from the tired and true Roman scene. The menu definitely speaks Venetian and I’m happy to say that duck is not only on the sign out front, but on the menu too.
As a first course I had what may be one of my favorite dishes: sea scallops served on a bed of polenta, covered in black truffles. But long before my scallops arrived, we each got an amuse bouche - a gift from the chef - of shrimp tempura atop a zucchini salad. At that point I knew the rest of the meal was going to be great since the shrimp was perfectly cooked. It seems a small thing to ask, but so often you get overcooked tough shrimp. This one was plump, moist and seemed just barely cooked, encased in a crunchy light crust.
I didn’t order the mozzarella-topped panzanella, but I wish I had. I only got a bite of my friend Scott’s but it was incredible. I’m not sure what they did to the bread, but it tasted almost meaty and was the perfect foil to the tomatoes and mozzarella.
And then there was duck. The duck ragu-topped pasta was as rich and wonderful as it sounds. Big chunks of duck meat along with liver, all atop a tangle of buccatini. The duck breast served with caramelized apples in a port reduction was out of this world, as was the roasted lamb served with a puree of fresh mint.
Even though we were beyond full, we managed dessert since it was my friend Jane’s birthday. A perfect little chocolate souffle for Jane (with a candle) and one of the best creme brules I’ve ever had in Rome, for the table.
The restaurant is small and intimate, and in good weather has a few tables outside. They also have a private dining room upstairs.
Via Savoia 68
06 855 7736