New York is famous for creating and perpetuating new trends in food, design, and everything else under the sun. One of the latest fashions comes from the butcher shops in Rome’s Testaccio area. At the end of the 19th century, these slaughterhouses created a variety of dishes which are now making a splash in New York. Dishes such as stewed oxtail (coda alla vaccinara), veal intestines in tomato (pagliata di vitella), tripe alla Romana and sweetbreads (animelle) are no longer oddities on just a few menus. Some of the older New York restaurants that serve these dishes have remained quite famous but it is the newcomers who will make these meals everyday fare. In fact, in recent months, a few restaurants which primarily serve these Roman dishes have opened, including Quinto Quarto and Sora Lella, to name a few. Quinto Quarto mean’s the fifth quarter. There are many interpretations of what this word means including that an animal has four legs which can be translated into four quarters. The fifth quarter is the offals or the interior part of the animal. Additionally, the offals taken together weigh one-quarter or the carcass of an animal.
Both of the restaurants which have opened in New York have sister restaurants in Italy. Quinto Quarto is part of David Ranucci’s empire. He owns two restaurants in Milan, Giulio, Pane e Ojo and Casa Tua and one in Montecarlo. Sora Lella instead is a very well known restaurant on Rome’s Isola Tiberina. The restaurant has been going for more than 50 years and the relatives of the original owner are now making their foray into the New York marketplace. Not only is this good for Roman cooking but also for wines from Lazio which have been woefully underrepresented on the New York market. Check out this post from a few months ago on Altacucina’s Website.
One well known Roman chef who has not yet come to New York but perhaps we will see her here in the future is Sora Anna. One never knows. Her son, Fabrizio, when speaking about the menu of offals jokingly called it the menu macabre. Check out their website Osteria di San Cesario
Sora Anna is a true character and anyone traveling to Rome should check out her cuisine. She is the essence of this type of Roman cooking and character. If you can’t get to Rome though, at least, you now have more than one option.