Monday, July 7, 2014

aRoma Italian Kitchen and Bar

I drive up and down South Lamar Blvd. everyday, and have watched with curiosity over the past 1.5 years as the mixed retail project surrounding the Broken Spoke takes place. The first two food establishments that have gone in are national chains -- Boardwalk Burger + Fries and Bruegger's Bagel's. {Sidenote: I tried Boardwalk about a month ago; great friendly service, and I loved the fries, but the burger was meh.} So I was thrilled to see a locally-owned place -- aRoma Italian Kitchen and Bar --  take center stage (literally) next to the Spoke. You can't tell from the picture, but aRoma's patio seating is practically in the Spoke's parking lot.
I was invited to aRoma for a media tasting a couple weeks back, and this was my first look and taste. (No money exchanged hands, and I was not paid for my opinion.) Owner Dave Whitney was a head honcho at Threadgill's for over a decade, but always had a love for Neapolitan-style pizza. He found Chef Jason Garcia in San Antonio, who shared his love for classic Italian. Dave is also related to the owners of Mockingbird Domestics, the homegoods store a little further north on SoLa, who helped with the decor of aRoma.

We were started off with a salumi and formaggi plate ($12), with mostarda and castelvetrano olives.
Next was a modern take on a beet salad ($9) with goat cheese, farro, pine nuts, and onion rings. Beets and goat cheese are always a good thing in my book!
The classic Margherita pizza ($12); their pizzas cook for 60-90 seconds in a 900 degree wood fired brick oven! Hot!
And the arugula prosciutto pizza ($16), which I loved! The arugula is very gently tossed in truffle oil, but it's extremely subtle, and oh so good!
The fettucine gamberetto ($12) is tossed in a lightly smoked tomato cream, that imparted some very nice flavor to the dish, and didn't make it too heavy. We also had the brasato al vino ($21), or wine-braised short rib, though I did not get a worthy photo.
aRoma is absolutely a welcome addition to the changing face of South Lamar. Check them out for happy happy hour, from 4 - 7 pm, with half-price pizzas; full dinner service starts at 5 pm and they are open seven days a week. Free parking onsite as well. Benvenuto!

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