Thursday, April 12, 2012
Sometimes I worry that I write about my own neighborhood too much. Is it that I’m lazy? That I don’t get out much? No. I do get out, and very far away , and quite often.
It’s just that there’s an awful lot of great stuff happening in Monti. Via dei Serpenti and Via Boschetto get most of the attention. But in the last few years Via Urbana has taken the lead, with places like Urbana 47 and Tricolore getting a lot of press (guilty).
But if I could dream up the kind of shop I would want someone to open in Monti, I’d imagine a place where I could buy fresh herb plants - from wild cress and mint, to Sicilian oregano and French tarragon. Peppers from all over the world, lemon grass and little pots of mustard sprouts. I’d also like to be able to sit down to eat: nothing heavy, just enough for a lunch or tea time. And if there could be a section devoted to spices and garden supplies, that would be nice too.
That about sums up Aromaticus, the newest arrival on Via Urbana. Opened by the super hip and uber charming couple Luca De Marco and Francesca Lombardi. He’s a chef (with a pedigree that includes L’Acquolina, Open Baladin and Convivio Toriani) , she’s a sommelier and together they dreamed up this Urban Gardening Shop.
While I’ve bought my share of herbs there, and perused the seeds and gardening tools, what I go for most often is the food. There are only a handful of seats, and the menu is tiny, but fresh and flavor packed.
This is where I head when I need steak tartare. Luca hand chops fassona beef into an ethereal and gently spiced mound. If I'm not feeling beefy, I lean towards the carpaccio of smoked tuna or baccala. I’m also a big fan of their herb flecked salads, which are nice to take home.
But mostly I just stop by because it’s so so lovely. A shop filled with fresh herbs, good food and nice people.
No wonder I never leave the neighborhood.
Via Urbana 134