I remember a distinction professors made on their course reading lists: required reading vs suggested reading.
Put Gennaro down as required eating.
That’s Da Genarro.
It’s on a hillside high above the Adriatic, on a two lane road called “la panoramica,” through a national park called San Bartolo. I wouldn’t say the restaurant is in a village. It’s not a village so much as a brief deviation. If you don’t deviate, you’ll miss it. And trust me: you do not want to miss it.
This is one of those places where, quoting one of Tizi’s cousins, you say: Portami un po’ di tutto. Bring me some of everything. Here’s a mix of the cold antipasto:
Enjoying the view beginning at 12:00 and moving clockwise: swordfish carpaccio with eggplant; shrimpies on a bed of arugula; squid strips with gold and red peppers; anchovy fillets with hot pepper, oil and lemon juice; another carpaccio (I didn’t ask what it was) with exploding red pepper corns; poached merluzzo with tomato and onion; canocchie (aka squill mantis), and in the middle a salmon carpaccio with pomegranate and a touch of balsamic. Antipasto freddo, for one person.
The warm antipasto today featured stewed sea snails, tiny baked scallops, stewed clams and mussels, more cannochie, and crab served in a light tomato sauce.
“I love this bread,” my wife says.
Ben cotta, the Italians say. Well cooked, with hard crust and very lightly salted center, that’s ideal for dragging through the sauces left when you’ve finished the clams and crabs. Fare la scarpetta, they say. Make a little boot and go wading in the sauce.
Finally, as an expression of our boundless love of this restaurant, we proceeded to the the mixed grill. Consisting of sole, coda di rospo (monk fish), a gamberone and trigly, and a squid skewer.
It’s a lot of food. And it’s just enough.
As an afterthought we split a zupp’inglese for dessert. I was a little bit blissed from the seafood and forgot to take a picture. It looked like zupp’inglese. And it was good.
We finish the afternoon with a dreamy drive down the panoramic toward Gabbice. The scenery is dazzling, the food experience lingering, “a long finish,” as they say of a good wine.