Monday, June 25, 2012
Like everyone else, there are some places I'm more familiar with than others. For instance I know Rome better than I know Venice or Naples. And here in Rome I’m certainly more up to date on areas like Monti, Testaccio and even Monteverde, than I am with Prati or Parioli.
Parioli I can live without (sorry Parioli, but I’ve never had a real connection with you). But Prati is another story. Whenever I go to Prati I understand why people who live there love it. Big, tree-lined streets make it seem ‘European’ in a way the rest of Rome doesn’t. Wide sidewalks, usually swept clean. Plenty of stores, so the shopping is good. And lots of restaurants, most of them unknown to me.
It’s not that Prati is that far away, but it is just far enough that I never just wander over. But I will be wandering over more often now that I’ve discovered Sorpasso.
I first heard of this place from a farmer outside of Orvieto. Yes, you heard me right. Remember when I went to the goat farm last year? When I asked the owner where I could find her exquisite cheeses in Rome, so that I could make repeat versions of dishes like this, she said that the only place in Italy where they were available commercially was Sorpasso.
Stupidly it took me almost a year to make it there.
Sorpasso is a bit of everything. Up front there is a bar where you can have a coffee and pastry in the morning. To the right is a counter that sells about 12 types of prosciutto and just as many cheeses - (including the goat cheese ) all artisinaly made and just about impossible to find elsewhere.
Heading towards the back you hit the cocktail bar. Since we went for lunch, I didn’t indulge, but you can bet I’ll make it back for a Bourbon Sour or Brandy Crusta (yes, you read that right).
The main action goes on in the light-filled back room. Furnished in a sort of shabby chic country style, the open space - which is lit by an enormous skylight - is comfortable and welcoming.
Of course the main reason to go is the food. The menu changes daily, and seasonal produce reigns supreme. Our starter was a simple plate of string beans and potatoes which sounds boring but was anything but. It was cooked perfectly, bathed in fruity olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.
Since it was Friday there were a few fishy offerings. I had the Carpaccio di Bacala, which was thin slices of lemony cod draped over a rustic, slightly crunchy, panzanella. Domenico instead had Bacala con Patate. Cooked long and slow, it came in it’s own mason jar which turns out to be not just a trendy presentation, but actually a low tech version of sous vide.
To finish, one cannolo to split. The crunchy shell was piped with super fresh ricotta minutes before it came to the table and full of dark chocolate chips.
Since the place is beyond stylish and cute, I’m sure I would have liked it no matter what. But given the fact that it was one of the best meals I’ve had in a long while - simple, straightforward and delicious - I liked it even more.
I admit it, I should go to Prati more often. Lunch and goat cheese shopping. What more could a girl ask for?
Via Properzio 31-33
They also have a sister place, more of a wine bar, on the next block:
Via Pomponio Leto 1