I thought Ciccio Sultano was the only Sicilian serving sex food – the kind of stuff that makes you want to forget you’re in a public place, vault the table and make a meal out of your date.
One of the things I like about Chef Caravanserraglio and his eponymous Ragusa restaurant is that he’s not afraid to do pizzas that tend to be in the 5-10 euro range on a menu that also includes a 58 euro tasting menu; both are great values, but it’s rare to see someone with the guts and skill to do it all right.
Naturally, Caravanserraglio is a product freak and his menu lists four types of olive oil, six salts and five kinds of pepper. Apparently, we both share a dislike for Peugeot pepper grinders (no coarse grind) but he’s ordering a special German grinder normally used by scientists to extract the most from his peppercorns. Until then, he uses a mortar and pestle crushing pepper to order.
One of the first plates with a tasting menu is an index card-sized slice of fat from a Spanish pata negra cured ham atop a similar-sized thick slice of lightly-smoked beef carpaccio with Maldon salt and specially-imported Szechuan pepper so fresh that it actually fizzes in your mouth.
Everything happens at once: textures and flavors, smoky, salty and slippery, fizzy and raw.
Damn these public places. I want to vault the table.
Ristorante - Pizzeria Caravanserraglio
via P.Nenni 78
Globe travel correspondent Joe Ray writes his own blog, Eating The Motherland and contributes to the English language version of Simon Says! the French food and lifestyle blog run by French food critic Francois Simon.
Photo by Joe Ray for The Boston Globe