This time Carlo Macchi takes the stand:
Every time I feel like Buridan’s Ass: I enter Barbaresco, drive to Piazza della Torre (the one with the once beautiful tower that is now flanked by a plexiglass monstrosity), park, and… find myself like the poor ass, unable to decide between two equally enticing bales of hay. My difficulties are not due to bales of hay of course, but to the presence of two places I find equally enticing and exciting. To the right the cellars of Produttori del Barbaresco and to the left the Ristorante Antica Torre.
I usually resolve the Buridian Conundrum by looking at my watch: If it’s time to eat my stomach inevitably draws me to the Antica Torre.
For many reasons. First, the place (after a thorough restyling) is welcoming in its simplicity. Wooden tables, perfectly white tablecloths, simple, correct table settings, proper glassware, warm pastel colors on the walls. In short, it almost feels like home, and the aromas wafting through the air increase that impression.
Settled and relaxed, you’re ready for a Piemontese menu that couldn’t be more so, and is even better because of the ingredients they select and the knowledgeable hand at the stove in the kitchen.
Beginning with the chopped raw beef or the Russian salad, to say nothing of the vitello tonnato, you will discover clear, unambiguous flavors that are the quintessence of what one expects from these dishes.
The amazing thing is that they combine simplicity and substance with great finesse, so much that one finds one’s self almost forced to ask for more, and therefore risk a certain an almost jump in one’s cholesterol.
Every now and then (depending perhaps on the amount of Barbaresco coursing though my veins) the philosophy major in me reemerges, and once while seated at the Antica torre I thought that in the Platonic Theory of the Superior World of Perfect Ideas, to which all worldly things refer to have form and name, the idea of tajarin cannot differ much from
those they serve here. They are simply (almost) perfect: solid by soft, very fine, and perfectly accompanied by their ragù. I know of very few places able to equal or surpass them.
Even though they don’t belong in the hyperuranian sphere, the agnelotti al plin are superb, as are all the second courses, beginning with the rabbit braised in the oven or in civet. One cannot but conclude with a nice bunet, which you might pair with (Sommeliers might shudder, but let them) with the last sip of the bottle of Barbaresco you started out with. And this brings us to the wine list: despite being next to one of Piemonte’s finest cellars, the list also includes other excellent wineries, at better than honest prices. There is also wine by the glass for those who don’t want to take on a whole bottle. And the bill will be lighter; excluding wines it won’t be more than 35-40 Euros.
Via Torino, 64
Tel. 0173 635170