It was raining in sheets, but we had an essential restaurant reservation and Liz wanted to see the Colosseum at night. Off we went. It was worth the wade
8 years ago, on our last night in Rome, we had a wonderful meal at “Glass” – they have since earned a Michelin one star so we decided to repeat our “last supper”. (although when we first arrived in Rome we walked by and it was under construction – fortunately they re-opened and we got a reservation on their first night. No obvious first day back at the stoves jitters.)
The decor is very modern with glass panels in the floor that echo the name and give patrons pause as they walk across the room.
The Chef/Owner, Cristina Bowerman, is delightful and kindly gives us a great deal of personal time explaining the preparation and provenance of each dish.
She is an interesting lady. Born and raised in Italy, she moved to Austin Texas where she trained and worked in restaurants. She decides she will never make perfect pasta unless she returns to Italy. She now owns a One Star restaurant so things seemed to have worked out – pic follows but apologize for the photo quality
We chose the 11 course tasting menu – 3 hours of food, conversation, surprises, information and fun. We enjoyed a pleasant bottle of Sicilian Chardonnay.
The Amuse Bouche was a corn chowder with an amaretto cookie crumble crust. Perfect, but a low key entry for what was to follow (and too sweet for Liz)
If the corn chowder was pedestrian, the bread selection was anything but. The “regular” looking breads were wonderful with crackling crusts and creamy centers but two of the selections deserve special note. The flat bread was thin enough to see through (ex the fennel seeds) and simultaneously crumbled and dissolved in the mouth. The black roll on the left is coloured and flavoured with squid ink – a roll with a rolling sea flavour – delicious!
On to sashimi grade Norwegian salmon with Yuba and curdled soy milk. She’s flexing her sourcing muscles. Not much “cooking” here, but superb quality, preparation and presentation. It also tasted great – who knew about curdled soy milk?
Next an heirloom/Peruvian original potato cooked in clay with sea urchin egg sauce and sea beans. We forgot to ask what sea beans are. Sauce was yummy. It also came wrapped in edible silver foil which in a world where dining is entertainment was a nice bit of theatre. The sauce quality escalates the “we can cook” component
Then Intermezzo. The previous dishes have come rapid fire. Now we pause and cleanse the palate. Perfectly dressed greens wrapped around goat cheese ricotta, all on a bed of arugula pesto. A surprise salad.
The muscle of the batting order starts with tagliolini with leeks, vanilla and a fresh oyster. She got her wish to make perfect pasta – and cook it just right. The sauce was lovely and we could have vacuumed down a dozen of the oysters
Then a dish Liz is determined to replicate. Cristina kindly reviewed with us the process of integrating ground parmesan with stock to create a parmesan gel with which you can then fill raviolis. The result is ravioli with liquid parmesan inside, We asked for a 100 frozen in a bag for take away. Loved this dish. Note – no idea where the blue tint came from, the plate is white
She’s on a roll……then serves pork cheek, cooked sous vide at 65 degrees F for 36 hours, then roasts it and garnishes with foam and a gooseneck barnacle. (she was very proud of the sourcing of the barnacle – we’re not sure what it added). But the pork….you don’t eat the pork cheek, you place a piece in your month and it dissolves. Could have consumed a rack of these. We’ve bought some of the hardware to cook sous vide and will complete when we get home.
There a perfect sautéed scallop and we emphasize perfect – on a platform of yam cake with prosciutto broth, fish roe and a side of wild mushrooms. A lot going on. You savour the scallop, follow with the yams, finish with the mushrooms and mop up the broth and roe with some good bread. Much fun was had by all
To end the main courses, a citrus granita – lovely and for dessert a semi frozen yogurt with verbena oil and sprouts. Dickie loved it (Liz isn’t crazy about yogurt)
There were also elegant petit fours, but by then we were discussing with Cristina the virtues of El Bulli, chemical cuisine, Texan politics and running a restaurant. Forgot to take a picture.
Cristina’s answer to our question of why, in a world of high youth unemployment, so many restaurant workers are foreigners was – “The Italians don’t want to work. They won’t sacrifice to start at the bottom. They want all the benefits without the work”. Yikes – she’s Italian.
A very memorable dining experience – the food, service and the conversation.
We walked halfway home then – as the heavens opened again – took a cab.