Roberto's (What Jim Had For Dinner)
Glad you had the chance to try Roberto's. My idea of not going there for dinner is more a principle than opinion, in that we are usually home then and can cook similarly. Their pressuring the clients to get wine, while loutish, is a good idea. How can one eat marvellous Italian food with mere tap water (or seltzer)? Some main dishes seem excellent and I'll try them and report back. They have Chilean sea bass with mussels and shrimp in a white wine sauce (with some herbs), good-looking roasts. I would wager that any fish or seafood would be stellar as Roberto is from the Salerno area, on the Tyrrhenian coast.
Also, the pasta is excellent because it is hand-made. He makes an excellent tagliatelle with wild boar ragout, the ravioli stuffed with artichoke and sheep cheese. . .
The desserts are also home made and superb.
"How can one eat marvellous Italian food with mere tap water (or seltzer)?"
Actually, we ordered single glasses of red wine with the food. For which we were badly vibed ("no bottle? homeless philistines!"). The slam-on-the-table tap water was in lieu of bottled water. We were treated similarly brutishly for not having a cocktail before dinner, and for not ordering dessert. Your reasoning could be applied to all these steps (and more, e.g. a grappa afterwards): "How can one eat marvellous Italian food without....", but, sorry, I just can't do $150 dinner on a whim right now. And if I could, I wouldn't choose this pasta place to blow out in. Gotta settle for a bit less marvelous. And I'd have been a lot happier if I were nonetheless treated graciously....especially given that they put on such airs yet serve junior high lunch room tomatoes with their fancy mozzarella.
re: Jim Leff
re: Jim Leff
Friday, lunch at Robertos:
three of us ate
1. Penne with lamb, rucola (arugula in New Yorkese), cherry tomatoes, hot pepper to create a heat and warmth throughout. Very little tomato present except for the chopped fresh cherry tomato. Verdict: as good as my wife's!
2. Cavatelli (hand made!) with lusty deep rich ragu (thick meat sauce) which clung to the pasta, light years from Italian-American red sauce + ground beef. Topped with toasted ground almond. Verdict: Oy!!
3. Main course. Even though pastas are preferred by many at Roberto's we had chilean sea bass marechiaro (in light wine sauce, hint of tomato, with mussels and clams. All impeccably fresh, the sauce making one reach for the bread to dredge up every drop. Served with spinach sauteed in olive oil and hint of garlic (not inundated a la Domenick's and their ilk). Verdict: superior dish, at the level of their pastas. Must try more.
Bill was $50 (no drinks). Lunch time wasn't crowded. At night the wait can be an hour or more as they do not allow reservations.