I recently chose Bistrot64 for a celebratory meal with some friends. The fact that my favorite chef in Rome, Christina Bowerman of Glass Hostaria, had recommended it is why I went. The last time I saw her, Ms. Bowerman had very pink hair. So, I should not have been surprised that Bistrot64 served up a very colorful dinner.
A quick cab ride north, and we were there. The restaurant had a simple and classic decor, and we were one of a few tables on a Saturday night at 7 pm (by 9, however, it was quite busy). A glass of champagne started us off well.
I started with the potato “spaghetti” with butter and anchovies, one of the signature dishes of the Michelin-star chef, Kotara Noda.
While I enjoyed the dish, my wife’s dish was a real stunner: a white chocolate egg.
Described as “Pumpkin egg, parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar” on the menu, Laura was delighted to smash it open.
Inside was a warm, creamy pumpkin bisque. When you mix in the white chocolate, the parmesan, and the little bits, it became an exquisite sensory experience with every bite. Wow!
I enjoyed my second course, which was a small portion of pasta amatriciana — the pasta course is offered in two sizes.
Laura went with “Blue Risotto, lemon and thyme.” It actually was blue! Its hue was due to the use of blue cabbage. The rice was perfectly cooked, and the bitterness of the cabbage contrasted nicely against blue and gorgonzola cheeses. Delicious!
But we hadn’t planned well… we’d had a late lunch that day, and did not have room for an entree. On tap that night were donkey, duck, and two kinds of fish, one of which was “black” from squid ink. Choices for dessert were red, green, purple, and brown. Yes, more colors. Since all four of us were foregoing the main course, we quickly rationalized that we could try all the sweet offerings.
Our favorite was “Red,” described as raspberry, cherry, karkadè [hibiscus tea?], and white chocolate.
“Purple,” made of purple potatoes, blackberry, mascarpone cheese, blueberry, and grapes was the most imaginative. It tasted much like sweet potatoes, punctuated by a purple meringue and a delicious fruity sauce.
“Brown” was made with black garlic, savoiardi [biscuit], coffee, cocoa beans. We loved the coffee sauce, which was poured by the server.
“Green,” made of green tea, pistachio, chicory, and mint, was the most delicate.
Clearly a return trip for another colorful meal is called for. One when I’m hungry enough for an entree (as well as all the deserts).