Last month, I went on a 7-day cruise with Holland America (if you have checked out my Instagram, you might have seen some images and I’ll write about the cruise trip soon). Rome, Italy was its final destination and I’ve stayed in the city overnight before I head back home in New York City. Since every hour and every meal counts when it is this finite, I had dinner at Ristorante Moma. What made me curious about this restaurant is to see what is happening in the fine dining scene in Rome since my last visit to the city was Fall 2017.
Moma is a narrow two-floor restaurant where the ground floor is a bar/lounge area and the second floor is the main dining room that is clean, elegant and decorated akin to an art gallery space with light instrumental jazz playing in the background. My dining companion and I were seated at a long communal table and sat in plush yet firm leather chairs and warmly greeted by their Head Sommelier, Federico Silvi. We had a version of the chef’s tasting menu highlighting Chef Andrea Pasqualucci’s best dishes.
Mr. Silvi did a fantastic job pairing the wines ranging from complex effervescent vintage Champagnes like the Champagne Gallimard Prestige Millesime 2016 to pair with the flight of 6 snacks and ending with a big, dark cherries, tannic Cascina Baricchi Barbaresco Riserva Rose delle Casasse 2016 wine to stand up to the rich braised beef cheek. That mentioned beef cheek was incredibly tender that you can eat it with a fork only but it still had some structure.
Chef Pasqualucci’s food was thoughtful, delicious, elegant, and sometimes playful. The array of snacks that he sent to me were tasty and the most unique one was the savory Parmesan cheese ice cream sandwich that was mostly savory then it slowly faded to sweet since it is ice cream. He captured the essence of spring with the beautiful bowl of “Il nostro orto di stagione in giardiniera” or “our seasonal garden” where the super fresh, baby vegetables were picked and arranged in like an artful bouquet and every angle of this dish was pretty to look at. The oysters, shallot compote and Champagne sauce was light and refreshing. The chamomile risotto, smoked eel, honey and oregano was wonderful; the rice was cooked perfectly, it was creamy and the smoked eel gave it a gentle smoky element with a touch of silky, fatty richness to the dish.
His pre-dessert of beets, yogurt and mint could have easily been my dessert for the night since it’s light and just sweet enough. But the made to order brioche served with Marco de Bartoli marsala and cherries was sublime. The warm, pillowy soft bun was sweetened with a thin sugar glaze and powdered sugar. I wish there was such a thing to order a dozen of those brioche buns to go and I’d be happy to have them for breakfast or any time of the day since they are that good!
It’s a wonderful dinner at Moma. Service was professional yet friendly. Staff spoke English well enough to have a brief conversation. The food was delicious and I would love to eat there again.
Scroll through my slideshow below to view the dinner: