Since we arrived Rome has been awash in wisteria. One landmark we used to let us know the apartment wasn’t far was a wonderfully lush corner with the ubiquitous bloom. What we didn’t know was that very landmark housed Gensola Trattoria, one of Katie Parla’s recommendations. The restaurant is unassuming and approachable, the staff helpful and attentive, the food exceptional. We kept to the Parla plan with a slight detour.
Fried artichokes started us off. Crispy chips of the outer leaves yield a sweet soft center.Next tuna tartar. The surprise of this dish was how the addition of the finely diced celery added a clean crunch to the tartar. The horseradish cream made with a light sour cream/crème fraishe could have used a bit more horseradish for us, yet the entire plate satisfied. Plus they gave us a ton of tuna.Sadly, the sea bass ravioli sold out (a Parla recommendation), so we ordered the pasta special with prawns, asparagus and fresh tomatoes instead. As our waitress, Federica explained it, the flavors are very fresh like spring. I am here to tell you that this dish was by far the best tasting pasta dish bar none. Thin strands of egg pasta, sweet prawns, thin asparagus sliced to delicate orbs, yet the flavor that held the dish together was a rich, smoky pepper flavor. This was difficult for us to figure out so we asked Federica what the flavor was she typed onto my I-Phone “black pepper”. Mz. Riz and I asked, “a special black pepper?” Fredrica brought over her associat, Angelo who explained that it was guanciale seasoned with black pepper. The dish coalesced in my brain. The soft bits of what I assumed were bacon were guanciale that released its fresh pepper flavor to dish. Typing this makes my mouth water.
We shared seared cod with tomatoes. Simple, seared to crispy perfection surrounded by the reddest tomatoes that added sweetness to the briny cod. A small vanilla gelato finished the meal and us.