Wednesday, January 23, 2008
when it comes to italian food, i am kind of a snob about what I eat- I guess that came from living in Italy during my college days where even a starving student could eat like a king. I have always admired the simplicity of genuine Italian food where less is certainly always more. In New York I tend to stick close to Mario Batali's empire.In Richmond,it's Ed Vasaio that impresses me the most. And of all his joints, Mamma Zu holds rules the day. My wife and I celebrated our wedding with a private lunch there on a snowy December afternoon eight years ago, and it became our special celebration locale. The same group of 8-10 of us have gathered 4 or 5 times a year to celebrate birthdays, babies, graduations, and anniversaries. And we always order the same thing, save a few small variations.
This is our standard fare:
2 large white pizzas ( with the perfect combination of garlic, cheese and crushed red pepper)
brocoletti (swimming in a sea of garlic and lemon)
scungilli salad (tender morsels of conch in a yummy vinaigrette)
fresh mozzarella with roasted red peppers
penne all'amatriciana ( a spicy tomato sauce with guanciale-pork jowl- read all about its origins in last weeks New York Times.)
penne alla gorgonzola- creamy blue cheese and peas coat the penne like a silky coat
eggplant parmesan ( delectably thin layers of eggplant, tomatoes and cheese)
rockfish (simply broiled with lemon- lightly salted)
Duck breast with polenta and white beans ( a rare piece of duck plattered with a crispy polenta slice with a side of yummy white beans and garlic)
Dessert of course- tiramisu, literally a "pick me up" wit its intense coffee flavor, and creamy cannoli.
Mamma zu sometimes catches some flak for what is described as surly service. They focus on the food, and that's what steals the show. Every time.