Thursday, October 9, 2008

Piatto Piatto, Roppongi

Being a pure-blooded American of variously mixed Russian, Irish and German heritage, and coming from the tropical southern regions of New Jersey, it makes perfect sense that my definition of comfort food should be red-sauce Italian (and miso soup, but that's a different story). My home town is 2.3 square miles and 9,365 people, with 13 churches and about 300 Italian restaurants. I exaggerate for humorous effect, but there are a solid 5 of them, and more in neighboring towns.

These are clearly red-sauce places. They do steady takeout business in pizza and cheesesteaks [aside: "Philadelphia cheesesteak" is redundant. Anything superficially resembling a cheesesteak outside the greater Philadelphia region is an inferior simulacrum.] and feature formica-clad booths, faux wood-grained walls and the occasional jukebox. We used to have red sauce at home too. None of that "Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Night!" stuff, and I don't call it gravy, but still plenty of it. So it's comforting. This is why I like cooking up a big pot on the weekends.

Piatto Piatto is a mildly sketchy-looking place near Baggio, around the corner from the Saizeriya or Chen Kenichi's on Roppongi Dori. I've known it was there for years (yonks, really. A donkey's age!) but always thought it was pretty much beneath notice. So elitist! Now, I appreciate 'different food group' foods like McDonald's and american coffee as much as the next guy, and I obviously needed more places to write about, so I went. And had red-sauce Italian, surrounded by heavy-smoking salarymen and Pinai waitresses. I noticed on the way in that there was one female customer, but she was the one who came in with me!

Lunch special is Y950 which gives you a soup (continuing the homey theme, we swore this was ketchup soup. Also had some tubular pasta in it; not ziti, longer and thinner.), bread (continuing the homey theme, this was literally a thick slice of toasted white bread cut in quarters, divided between the two of us), coffee (continuing the homey theme, this sucked) and pasta. We both had the eggplant-spinach-meat-sauce spaghetti (there was also mushroom bacon cream sauce, which looked less good; cheap cream sauce is difficult), and this was large and tasty! There was plenty of spinach, the eggplant was roasted really well (or at least pan-fried to brown-ness before being sauced) and the sauce was meaty and tomatoey and, dare I say it, homey. Each table had various condiments on parade, including a dish of butter (in Japan, I know! Extraordinary!) and a dish of grated cheese.

I have to say, I wouldn't even mind going back despite the ketchup soup and white bread.

I can't find any sites!

1 comment:

  1. And 2 of the Italian restaurants are owned by Greeks. Some how I think that is a little better than having the 3 Sushi restaurants in the next town owned by Chinese. Here in the USA many diners are owned by Greeks but it seems somewhat of a deception to go into a sushi place looking for authentic Japanese food only to find it prepared by an authentic Chinese chef.