Charlie, simple and done well

by Chiara Giannotti 08/30/16
770 |
Charlie, semplice e curato

This began as a dream more than a year ago… a project that came true a few months ago.

It was the brainchild of someone we can call Charlie, even if this is not his real name. He has all the qualities of an artist: he has an eclectic personality, is a dreamer and has a past. Although he is a man of few words, he has a personality is both intriguing and intimidating at the same time and he easily wins you over. Working with him is his wife who is sweet, laid back and full of enthusiasm for this new project, which she cares for as if it was a new child. Once the place is fully up and running they will be joined by their daughter and son-in-law, who are also both architects. And they are all ready to move to Rome from Orbetello, a charming, small Tuscan seaside town on the Argentario peninsula.

The main objective had been to open and architectural firm but at the same time to create a warm and welcoming place where they can receive and spoil their clients. But in the end they went far beyond this when they found a fantastic location in the center of town. It seems impossible that it was once an appliance store.

Comfortable tables are set up outside on the square in front of the Duomo cathedral while inside the original structure expands on two floors separated by a wood ceiling and a wooden staircase. The ground floor hosts a bistro while the upper one is a studio where the architects can work, meet clients and exhibit fun pieces of furniture, as well as keep an eye on what is going on downstairs, The tables are not many and with lot of room around them and thus they do not accept reservations for large parties. This helps create a tranquil atmosphere and the staff is courteous and efficient.

Everything was studied to the smallest detail with style and good taste, all brought out by the hand of a talented architect.

This same care and professionalism was applied to choosing the staff and the chef, all locals, and an appetizing menu composed of only a few dishes but all well-prepared and presented.

We began with a casserole offered by the chef that had a bean cream sauce and small octopus. Then there was a sampling of the Sono Fritto…Con Verdura (18 euros), a tempura of shrimp with various fried vegetables that were crispy and light. Another starter worth trying is Crema di Finocchi, Riso Canadese e Gamberi Rosse (18 euros), a cream of fennel, Canadian rice and red shrimp. Then there is the delicious Passatina di Ceci con Astice (22 euros), a chickpea cream with lobster, my favorite. Among the second courses is an excellent Filetto di Tonno, Cipolla e Riduzione di Morellino (22 euros), a tuna fillet with onions in a reduced Morellino wine sauce.

While the menu is mostly focused on fish, also available are some interesting proposals like Uovo alla Carbonara (12 euros), egg carbonara; Pici, Pomodoro, Basilico e Burrata (16 euros), Pici short, homemade pasta with a tomato, basil and burrata soft cheese sauce; and Filetto, Brunello a Chips di Patate (24 euros), a entrecote fillet cooked with Brunello wine served with homemade potatoes.

The wine list is perhaps the longest and best selected in the whole Argentario area, with honest price mark-ups and an interesting assortment that include regional and international wines.

The wine I chose was a Giovin Re (45 euros) from Michele Satta, whose winery is a reference point in the area of Bolgheri, near Castagneto Carducci. It is a well-made Viognier varietal with broad aromas from macerating on the skins and aging in wood. Its flavor and rich, profound and rounded mouthfeel make it perfect to pair with Charlie’s tasty food.

This restaurant, which opened in June, has all the characteristics it needs to stand out from the others in the Argentario area. We hope they can maintain the consistency, enthusiasm and pleasing atmosphere that we were fortunate to experience.

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