It’s something I’m always captivated by each time I eat in the city. And Bar Roma on the Upper East Side is no exception.
When Channing sent an email update about the festivities for Saturday, I hoped it was on her radar. We went once before when her mom came in the summer. This time, she was bringing her best friend Ms. Cynthia and Serena was coming with us.
Just like the time before, we barely looked over the menu before heading in for unlimited bellinis and mimosas. Italian music could be heard just as we approached the door. Inside, the restaurant was perfumed with the scent of artisanal cheese and wine. As we waited for someone to greet us, I watched as a family enjoyed their last bites. Two women sat off to the side nibbling on warm bread and sipping Prosecco.
The quaint Italian restaurant on Third Avenue was warm and comfy. Channing noted that It made you feel like you were having brunch at an Italian grandmother’s house complete with vintage chinaware. I agreed. Handwritten menus adorned the walls enticing you with Italian desserts like tiramisu, fruit tart and gelato. I loved that the light fixtures were wine glasses. They were separated by floating grape vines.
I quickly scanned the brunch and dinner menus even though I knew I was getting the smoked salmon benedict with homemade hollandaise sauce. The saltiness of the salmon was muted by the subtle taste of the garlic-infused spinach. The hollandaise sauce was as buttery as it was creamy with a hint of smokiness from fresh sage. The dish was completed with seasoned potatoes cooked to perfection.
It made me smile hearing the succession of “mmmm” that rang out as each person took their first bite. First it was me, then it was Channing’s mom who ordered a frisee salad with tuna and then it was Ms. Cynthia who ordered eggs with pancetta. The aroma of her Italian bacon was still in the air as we dished about our new jobs, beaus and goals for the year. Our laughter must have echoed through the open-air kitchen catching the attention of the chef who was speaking to someone in a foreign language that I couldn’t quite catch from my seat.
Maybe it’s because I miss my own family, but this is what family meals are all about. And when you can engender that same feeling in a restaurant, you know you’ve found a good one.