Pea Shoot and Snap Pea Salad at Roman’s, Dish #76. And (What the Hell!) the Rest of the Meal


Welcome to 100 Dishes to Eat Now, the tasty countdown leading up to our “Best of 2012” issue. Tune in each day (weekends too!) for a new dish from the Fork in the Road team.

[See More Revisits: Excellent Prix Fixe Lunch Deal at Vongerichten’s | Jonathan Waxman’s Barbuto]

The garlic bread makes a nice cheap app.

I recently had a chance to revisit Roman’s, a restaurant I liked when I first reviewed it back in 2010 — though I was annoyed at the general pretentiousness of the place, the noise level, and the lecture doled out to everyone who ate there. A friend from Jefferson, NY and I happened to be wandering in the neighborhood on a recent Monday, and after some back-and-forth picked Roman’s as the place to eat dinner.

In the early evening it was half-empty and chill. We readily found a table and were given menus with no lecture. Moreover, the noise level was low, and it proved a perfect place for a catch-up conversation.

Ordering one dish from each of the three sections (salads and more, pastas, and mains), we readily put a meal together with only one dish from each course and one side. Roman’s is one of those places where the menu changes every evening, but the general outlines of any meal there will be readily apparent to anyone who’s eaten there a few times.

The sugar snap and pea shoot salad was terrific, lightly dressed and tasting of the farmers’ market. Really, it’s a combo I’ve never seen before.

Next came a spaghetti with anchovies and bread crumbs. While that may sound like a comparative snooze, pasta-wise, it was good enough that we wished we’d had our own servings, and avidly licked the fluids remaining on the plate.

The main came as a greater surprise. Sided with a yogurt and a homemade chutney, the way-smoky barbecued goat chunks were interspered with blistered chiles of a fairly mild sort. But what knocked the dish for a home run were the Native American-style frybreads that arrived alongside. They provided the perfect foil for the rich meaty taste of the can-chewing mammal.

Despite having only had four dishes (the spiel used to counsel getting six for two people), we left stuffed and on a food high, resolving to return again at some random point.

This old Sicilian standard has rarely been so well reproduced.

Goat and fry bread — we suddenly felt like we were in, not Italy or the farmers’ market, but in the American Southwest.

243 DeKalb Avenue
Ft. Greene, Brooklyn