Last week I had a 36 hour layover in Rome between my two-week trip to Istanbul and subsequent month-long trip home to the States. I was determined to work in as many restaurants as possible during that time and a meal at Hostaria in the new OS Club was high on the list. I tried going for dinner just after landing, but the place was closed for a private party. I ended up going for lunch the next day.
When I arrived I was the only patron in the place so I had my choice of tables. I selected one close to the large window that makes up an entire wall of Hostaria’s dining room. I planned on just having a quick plate of pasta but I was tempted by the burrata on the menu. When it was served it was…oh I hate to even say it…ice cold. Burrata, mozzarella, and the like should never be served cold. I thought I might cry, but I pulled myself together and waited a few minutes as it lost its chill.
The next dish was the day’s special: spaghetti all’amatriciana. I’m having heart palpitations just thinking back on the dish: a nice, rich, well salted condiment serve with…overcooked pasta. Now, I do like my pasta on the raw side, so I find most pasta served in Rome to be overcooked, but these spaghetti had lost their spring and weren’t even al dente. Hostaria uses really nice pasta (Verrigni and Pastificio dei Campi) so this tragedy was even more grave. I’m not really sure what was up on the food front over at the OS Club that day, but from a service standpoint, everything was flawless. Sommelier Alessia Meli was on the floor and she and the other staff were absolutely lovely.
While Hostaria won points for hospitality, I was left longing for the precision and attention to detail that I had found on Iolanda’s plates. I know these restaurants do not reside in the same galaxy when it comes to concept and price, but they do share a kitchen and a chef and I hope that Hostaria rises to the occasion. Otherwise, I’ve always got Pastificio dei Campi’s spaghetti, a nice piece of guanciale, a hunk of pecorino romano, and tomato sauce back a the ranch.