When Pangaea—the earth's greatest rock supergroup—broke up, many fans blamed it on the high-heeled wiles of Europe's inseparable girlfriend, Italia. Discover a sweeter side to the globe's Yoko with today's Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of fine Italian cuisine at Trattoria Roma.
Praised for its cultivated wine list, Trattoria Roma crafts traditional Italian cuisine in an intimate brick-red setting. The dinner menu tempts Tuscan-craving tongues with signature pastas such as the pollo marsala, grilled chicken and mushrooms lounging on a bed of penne and marsala cream sauce ($17). The vegetable-braised beef braciole wraps melt-in-your-mouth ground veal, sausage, beef, and fontinella cheese in the strong yet tender arms of thinly sliced sirloin ($23). Tiger shrimp stalks scallops and fresh vegetables through a spinach-and-egg fettuccine jungle in the paglia e fieno, drenched in a lemon-and-smoked-salmon cream sauce ($24).
For lunch, the ravioli di salsicce tucks tuckered-out sausage and asiago cheese into a sleeping bag of mezzaluna ravioli, covered in a roasted pepper and red wine tomato-cream sauce. Choose from a panoply of paninis, from the crab-cake-filled Granchio ($10) to the regal bacon-caesar panini, whose grilled chicken or salmon center awaits fork-and-knife-bearing Brutuses ($11).
Old Blue Eyes casts his piercing gaze across the red-walled dining room as the opening strains of “Strangers in the Night” drift into the ears of diners seated at tables dressed in white linens. The aura of a refined 1960s club permeates every nook and cranny of Trattoria Roma, thanks in part to the assortment of framed Sinatra records and photos displayed behind the bar and the ever-present Rat Pack tunes playing throughout the day. Since its opening 25 years ago, the eatery's owners have fostered a cozy-yet-refined atmosphere bolstered by authentic Roman cuisine forged from local ingredients. This tradition continued when veteran employee Shawn Mason took over the restaurant’s reigns from the original owners. Though he brought his own brand of hospitality to the mix, he made sure to uphold the kitchen’s tradition of high culinary standards. These standards have allowed the restaurant stay successful through the decades, now celebrating its 25th anniversary.
As Shawn cheerfully chats with regulars scattered throughout the dining room and at the bar, his partner, chef Matthew Prokopchak, can be found architecting Italian eats with his crew in the kitchen. Having grown up learning the conventions of Italian cooking from his mother and aunts, chef Matthew integrates some of his family’s recipes into the menu, imbuing his dishes with a sense of history and tradition. He assembles his arsenal of fresh produce –from lush tomatoes to fragrant basil– from local farms. While the menu remains largely unchanged throughout the year, each night the friendly service staff sidles up to tables to detail the day's seasonal specials via verbal recitations or interpretive dances.
Amid the dining room’s ruby walls, a series of Orfeo Tamburi lithographs depicting post-WWII Rome––reportedly the only complete Tamburi collection in the United States––hang in elegant frames. The décor works in concert with the savory wafts of garlic emanating from the bustling kitchen to evoke a vintage Italian atmosphere.