Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Roman's is the new (-ish) Italian restaurant on Dekalb that replaced Bonita. It's another in the growing list of places that I've been meaning to get to but have simply been unable or unwilling to drag mass into and review. Thankfully, I am blessed to have such people in my life as my friend Shannon, who recently demanded that we go out and try Roman's since she'd apparently heard some good things. I acquiesced.
I think one of the things that had been turning me off about Roman's was its austere facade–it's just black block letters on a stainless steel panel above the door. It looked very plain, I guess. I readily admit that's a stupid reason not to go to a restaurant, but I'm being honest here. It just didn't look like much from the outside, and so I always talked myself into walking down the block to Cornerstone or Kif, or across the street to iCi.
It turns out that what Roman's lacks in panache it makes up for with good food. The menu is set up in a traditional Italian manner with small items designed to be eaten as 3-4 courses. While this is a great way to build your own meal, it does end up making things a bit pricier than they may seem at first. The dishes are small, and you're going to need a few of them.
We started by sharing the Roasted Beets with Pickled Watermelon and Fennel, which was a unique take on antipasto and perfect for summer.
Next, we each had a pasta dish which served as our main course. I had the Pennine with Summer Squash, Butter, and Parmigiano, and Shannon had the Papardelle with Ragu. Both were compact, interesting dishes that combined a variety of really interesting flavors. Of the two, I think I'd go for the papardelle over the pennine were I faced with the choice again.
Not hungry enough for a full third course, but not completely satiated, we decided to get some roasted pea pods and cherry tomatoes (not having the menu, I forget its actual title and I think it was a special). Again, very good,but I think the roasted beats carried the day.
Roman's has a fully-stocked bar and some interesting wine and cocktail choices, which we took full advantage of. It certainly added to the tab quickly, though, and a small meal for two ended up over $100.
Roman's is a great little place with an interesting menu that seems to change pretty often, so it may be worth popping in on a regular basis to see what they have. There's never very much to choose from, but that's fine with me as long as what's there is good. It's a little pricey, and for the money I'd have to think very hard about passing up iCi or No. 7, but Roman's is another great choice in a neighborhood that seems to get more by the day.
243 Dekalb Ave