Video: Prorio sure that “ Flavio al Velavevodetto reassures you with the dishes we would always like to eat in Rome ”?
2023 Author: Cody Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 19:13
What happens in the head of an easily suggestible gastrophanic when he comes across the heartfelt signaling of a restaurant by a sacred monster such as Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food? This is the question which, with your help, I would like to try to answer. It happens to everyone to follow the advice of a friend with an exceptional palate or of the reference critic (it even happens to good journalists like Luca Zanini, who yesterday in the Corriere Roma took up a piece of the New York Times where they talked, among other things, about the restaurant Romano Settembrini).
How much this affects, positively or negatively, in enjoying the cuisine of a place is what we want to talk about.
Today the guinea pig is me, precisely, the fixed, influential and full of admiration. The pen, as mentioned, is by Carlo Petrini, the undisputed guru of Slow eating, the place of the experiment is Flavio al Velavevodetto, Roman tavern in Via di Monte Testaccio 97 in Rome.
Historical background: Chef De Maio, the Flavio dell’insegna, worked in the well-known Da Felice tavern in Testaccio, first as a cook and later as a partner. Two years ago he decided to start his adventure and took over this place, taking part of the collaborators with him.
"In the neighborhood that at night is animated by an often exaggerated youth nightlife, Flavio al Velavevodetto reassures us with the dishes we always want to eat in Rome: amatriciana, gricia, meatballs, artichokes, chicory and much more, all philologically executed", writes Carlin and not even finished reading, I have already called and booked.
The place is very particular: "There are two internal rooms, with windows that allow you to see the shards of old amphorae that make up the skeleton of the mountain (Monte dei Cocci, Ed) and let in the air currents that run through the caves: a very curious, natural and therefore also sustainable air conditioning ". I look around and decide to abstract myself from the words of the Guru: nice eh, for heaven's sake, only it's all very white, a few small photos of food hanging on the wall and nothing else. As a Roman, the Roman tavern, I imagine it more colorful, more lively.
Before starting I review one of Petrini's commandments: "Do not treat those who work badly, there are bad days for everyone", and I tattoo it on my arm even if the story of the "voice menu" is contrary to more than one of my guests: " The dining room staff is very informal and friendly, they list the dishes by voice but the written menu can be obtained ", Carlin tells me and in fact it is a classic of taverns: the cute boy arrives with a notebook in his hand, slowly reads the list of dishes and, at times, advises. Except that in the menu we get at the table there is no correspondence with almost any of the dishes listed and the reason, the same guy always explains to us, is that the dishes change according to the shopping.
The Slow Food President confirms this: "The dishes vary according to the market, Flavio pays great attention to local products (including winemaking), in particular for leafy vegetables and the meats he treats himself, obtaining supplies from a farm in the Lazio Maremma ". I collect the comments at the table: the idea is unanimous that a blackboard in the room or a sheet of paper updated daily as some do would make everyone agree: kitchen needs and an audience that loves to read and choose calmly.
We order: a whole and a half portion of amatriciana, a cheese and pepper, beef in oil for three, a roast pork with potatoes, a portion of sautéed cabbage and one of Roman endive. From the wine list, quite rich and quite coherent (said the expert at our table, but betrayed by an unsatisfied expression), Asinone di Poliziano 2006 and, to finish, two desserts (ricotta cake with cherries), two coffee and a limoncello.
I realize that this is the most difficult moment: to evaluate the taste of the dishes with extreme objectivity. I do it not without difficulty, helping myself with the less conditioned comments of the rest of the group: the portions of the first courses are more than generous and the taste is what it should be, nothing more, nothing less. Someone complains: Cacio e Pepe should not be made with oil, I refrain from commenting and I think: leave Carlin alone, if he said "philologically executed", it means that there is a logical thread. Beef does not convince me very much and is a bit bland but that is a subjective and execution flaw, perhaps by chance. The rest is good, certainly no one falls off the chair, but good, with a hint of admiration for cabbage and endive.
We spend € 173 in four, maybe ten euros more than we expected.
To the question: would you go back? I answer that I have other taverns in my heart here in Rome, but it could happen, I don't rule it out at all. The point is that when advice comes from a truly authoritative voice, expectations rise a lot.
Now it's your turn: how much an authoritative opinion affects your final judgment? How much can an item that matters (to you) affect the objectivity of an assessment?
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