Food & DrinkFebruary 16, 2011 at 7:04 am

Review: Core De Roma

Core Italian dishes done right.

Adrian Franco | 34th Street
Since I am a picky eater, I usually check a restaurant’s menu online before going. I like to see what I’m in for and make sure that there is at least one dish that I can order. Browsing Core de Roma’s website, I was a little confused by its layout, but impressed with the length of the menu and the amount of dishes I could potentially have.

As we made the trek all the way down to 2nd and South, we did not know exactly what to expect. Though we made a reservation just in case, the owner, who greeted us at the door, did not seem to find it. Nevertheless, we were seated right away because there were many empty tables. In fact, aside from our group of four, there were only a few other people sitting at the bar and a group of 10 older women around a long table next to ours.

In terms of decoration, the walls were covered with different paintings and pictures of Rome. Even the photos to signal which was the men’s and which was the women’s bathroom were pixelated printouts of prominent Italian figures, fitting with the overall theme. Because there was no music, the ambiance was created by the loud conversation going on at the table next to us.

Against all odds, however, the food was nothing like we expected. I had gone in being impressed by the length of the menu and came out even more impressed by the amazing quality of the food. Like in any Italian Trattoria, our meal began with bread. But unlike other restaurants, this homemade bread was more sweet than salty, and instead of coupling it with butter or oil, there was a bean salad with tomatoes and onions.

As appetizers we ordered Stuffed Artichokes with Pecorino and Mint, which was one of the daily specials. The flavors all complimented each other without one outshining the rest. We also got a play on the general Mozzarella Caprese ($8). This plate shows the effect of one ingredient on the overall plate. The smoked mozzarella made it taste more refined and unique. The Calamari alla Griglia ($9) were served over a bed of greens and grilled appropriately, but there was a lot of unnecessary oil in the bottom of the plate.

For our entrees we got the Cheese Ravioli in a Vodka Sauce ($12), which was amazing. The ravioli was cooked perfectly; the cheese was melted inside and the vodka sauce and had the perfect combination of cream and tomato sauce. We also ordered the Penne alla Vodka ($12) and got the same compliments as the ravioli. Both came in generous portions.

Finally, we ordered the Fish of the Day, which was a Branzino accompanied by potatoes and broccoli. The fish was excellently cooked and filleted table side so we could ask our waiter what we wanted to keep and what he had to take.

Even though by the end we were all full, we decided to try the Tiramisu. It was rich and flavourful and the perfect conclusion to our meal. All and all, I learned my lesson — the website might be odd and the decoration might be overwhelming, but the food was really worth it.

CORE DE ROMA
214 South St.
(215) 592–9777
Don’t Miss: Smoked mozzarella caprese
Skip: Calamari alla griglia
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