Last night, Campagnolo Roma hosted another one of its famed Quinto Quarto dinners, an offal-themed culinary extravaganza inspired by the Roman “fifth quarter” feasts of yore.  I was flying sort of solo as Akemi had bowed out on account of the far-too-late-for-her 8:30 p.m. seating. That and the emphasis on liver.

Like I said, I was flying “sort of solo” because, even though I didn’t have a date, I had plenty of company in the form of some adventurous friends.  There was Robert of course, a mainstay at these events (in fact, we met at one of Roma’s Whole Hog dinners) who was, in turn, joined by his buddy, Dave.  Longtime dining companions Jodi and Steve also put in a surprise appearance.  And, since the meal was family style (meaning you’re sharing a table with strangers), we ended up making some new friends as well: Barbara (whose husband used to work in the local t.v. industry and was also flying solo), Rosita (an accountant with a taste for adventure) and Su (who runs a catering company).

Now, the last Quinto Quarto dinner I attended was full of surprises (most of them good) so I wasn’t expecting this one to beat it.  But, damn, if the gang at Roma didn’t surprise me yet again.  The meal broke down as follows:

Beef tendon, honeycomb ripe, tongue.

That’s the way it was listed in the menu.  Rather uninspired, I thought. And I was thoroughly prepared to be underwhelmed given how much I loved the appetizers (spleen sliders!) from the last Quinto Quarto dinner – and how much I don’t like tripe.  But this dish turned out to be one of the highlights of the night, an outstanding combination of textures and flavors.  The addition of parsley and mint brought it to a whole other level.

Cavatelli all’anatra with duck gizzard sugo and crispy sage and chicken skin.

Speaking of outstanding – I could have eaten a double portion of this and the appetizer and gone home singing the praises of “My best meal in recent memory!”.  The pasta was perfectly al dente (can’t tell you how important that is).

Sauteed calves liver, sauteed onions, aceto tradizionale.

Okay, let me start off by saying that this was, without a doubt, the best calves liver I’ve ever eaten – sweet, tender, but intense.  No second helpings for me.  Growing up, this was one of my father’s favorite meals, and mom would prepare them the same why: fried with onions.  It took me back.

Roasted brussels sprouts with cured pork.

This is the only way to eat brussels sprouts = with bacon!

Pork kidneys, mustard greens, and extra virgin olive oil.

Hmmm.  This one didn’t do it for me.  The salad was interesting, the mustard greens possessed of a nice little kick, but those kidneys were akin to oversauced mushrooms.  Not my thing.

Sweet black pudding, pannetone, marsala zabaglione.

As much as I applaud the courage and creativity that goes into an offal-inspired dessert, I can’t really say I’ve ever had one that made me say: “Wow!  They’ve got to put this on the regular menu!”.  Not the black pudding and chocolate ice cream I once had at Refuel with Marty G. and Jewel.  Not the ricotta and pig brain cream in the cassata siciliana served at the last Quinto Quarto dinner.  And, to be truthful, not this sweet black pudding with pannetone and marsala zabaglione. Nevertheless, it WAS good.  The hazelnut black pudding and chocolate cake was reminiscent of fruit cake – but in a good way.

Overall, I quite enjoyed the meal and, based on those first two dishes (appetizer and pasta) have to give the edge to last night’s Quinto Quarto dinner over the previous one I attended.  Can’t wait for the next one!

Jodi and Steve
Jodi and Steve surprised me by joining me – and genuinely enjoying the dinner.  Didn’t realize they were such culinary daredevils.
David and Robert
David and Robert enjoyed the meal as well – but weren’t quite as enamored of the liver.
Rosita and Su
Rosita and Su = new foodie friends.
Barbara.  Since everyone else but the two of us were paired off, that made her my date for the evening!

Special thanks to the gang at Roma – especially the two individuals who created the menu and cooked the food: Chef Nathan and Chef Ted…

Chef Nathan and Chef Ted
Chef Nathan and Chef Ted

Thanks, guys!

16 thoughts on “January 24, 2013: Quinto Quarto

  1. When you said Akemi wasn’t going, I thought, “more for you!!”. But then you said it’s family style, and I thought, “oh no, you gotta share! Darn it!” A classy and pretty date you got there Joe. And the food looks great too. I hate brussels sprouts but that picture makes them look very good…good enough to eat! Good to see Chef Ted again! Thanks for sharing with us!

  2. I’m not a liver fan either, would never personally eat any organs or anything gross like that. That said I’m alright with normal meat be it Chicken, Beef or stuff like that. Just organs, uhh.. makes me feel ill at the thought lol

    I would guess that stuff is an acquired taste.

  3. G’day

    I would try the tongue dish as well as the brussels sprout with pork dish, but not the others. Not a liver fan.

    Wishing Corin Nemec a speedy recovery. Poor bloke, sounds very painful.

  4. I woke up at 5:00am that night with the “organ meat sweats”.

    According to Google, that has only happened to someone once, back in 2004.

    I am history…

  5. Yeah, the pork kidney dish doesn’t even look remotely appetizing. Tbqh, it looks like a pile of guts poured over lettuce. Everything else looks fantastic though.

    Oh wow, bad news about Corin Nemec. Wishing him a speedy recovery.

  6. No organ meat for me, the cholesterol thing once again. and I don’t care for it. I once got improperly prepared beef kidneys… tasted like piss. Just horrid. I’ve given them a pass ever since. I do like liver, but it no longer
    likes me.

  7. That sounds like a fun event. I can see why they’d want to make an advertised night of it, attract all the offal customers at once. A good social draw to meet others like yourself.

    I made chicken liver pate for the first time a couple nights ago. I set out to make chicken livers, but after roasting them in the drippings from cooking bacon, I noticed they were the perfect texture for that and not much else. The rest of that bacon grease got dumped in there, too.

    It’s another thing I’m not sure how it was supposed to be from lack of experience with it, but I loved it spread out on some Romaine lettuce. It’d make giving up dairy as my next paleo hack easier to have this take the place of cheese and it’d make a good salad dressing if I thinned it out more. I can’t over-emphasize the importance of including bacon grease with your greens.

  8. Deni: Thanks for posting the link. Poor Corin! I watch him on those Syfy shows. They are pretty silly but I’m was glad he is working steady. Broken in three places sounds painful and I mean, lifelong painful! He’s going to become a weather forecaster. I hope he gets a nice fat check out of it.

    gforce: My MIL had some dementia in the hospital. They caught her trying to climb out the window to escape one night. It was hard for us to see her confused because normally, she was very intelligent/articulate. My hubby (her son) turned into the authority figure who was keeping her prisoner in some kind of scenario she made up. It was really hard for my hubby. Prayers to you and your mom. It sounded like she was better yesterday and I pray she’s even better today!

    I’m no culinary daredevil but I thought Akemi was? I suppose liver WOULD be the cut off for a lot of people in food adventures. I’m glad you had fun and made some new friends. Be careful of wining/dinning someone’s wife though. You know how some of those “entertainment” people can be 😉 . What are the gun control laws like in Canada?

  9. @Joe on Campagnolo Roma’s:

    Again, you had me at Black Pudding! I’ve visited Campagnolo on Main Street but not Campagnolo Roma. I see the menus are different; do you prefer one over the other? I’m starting to line up my restaurant (foodie) list for when Barb and I visit Vancouver in three weeks (February 15th to 19th) and I may add in Campagnolo Roma. I think I’d also like to take her to Fat Dragon, Miku, and perhaps L’Abattoir (and I’m always open to new suggestions 😉 )

    Sorry for the light commenting over the past few days; my Son-In-Law’s 2003 Honda Accord threw a timing chain about two weeks ago, and I have been helping him deal with it ever since.

    It was a cascade failure…the timing chain stretched (wore out), causing it to jump camshaft sprockets, which then caused the valves to hit the pistons (bending the valves) and also causing the balance shaft chain to jump. I’m helping him rebuild the head (installing and lapping the new valves) and then I’ll be helping him install it on Sunday/Monday.

    We had already reassembled the engine once (to test the compression), which then confirmed the bent valves, so we had to tear it down again to get the head off for the valve work. I’m in a short reprieve while we wait for all the valves to come in (due in later today), and then valve lapping tomorrow morning.

    So for you high-mileage Honda owners out there: get your Timing Chain Tensioner checked…it could save you an engine rebuild!


    Sorry to be late with the well-wishes and prayers (I have been offering them even though I haven’t had the time to comment). It sounds like your step mom is heading in the right direction though. I’m praying for a speedy recovery from here.

  10. Joe, who’s hosting the SUPERBOWL PARTY? — okay. Doesn’t matter… But, I thought if you guys were in need of a new “DISH”, that you might want to try THIS:

    First, *I* don’t “cook”! However, my Blog-“Buddy” KRISTIN does! Between being a “Celebrity”-Knitter, she and her Husband run a Sheep Farm to sell their Lamb Meat. Anyway, the Recipe sounded like something that you might like to “experiment” with..? — If you do, let me know how it turns out.

  11. Jeffw – bear with me, on hubs phone. As a longtime Honda owner I’ve had it beat into my head by the service dept that you ALWAYS change the timing belt at the recommended mileage, if not before because if you don’t and that sucker goes, your engine is toast.

    Ya know, just for future reference. 🙂


  12. Gforce: My mum had dimentia. Unfortunately, she had to have emergency gall bladder surgery. She had many lucid moments before the surgery, however, afterwards, it was a downward spiral. Terrible stuff, the anaesthesia. Please know that there are many people who have been in the same situation who send you prayers and wish you the best, but sometimes it’s painful to talk about. What can one say about this disease. Too sad for all concerned.

  13. Ah….the brussel sprouts look good.

    (turns head while I barf at the other ones).

    Quinto Quarto sounds like a restaurant we’d see on Deep Space Nine.

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