Moreno Carusi - Buona Berlin

by Sun

Moreno Carusi was recommended to me by my friend Jeanna, from Chicago.
When I mentioned the address to our friend Jakob (in Berlin), he was surprised that there would be any good restaurants in that area because of its location in the financial district, and after office hours, you hardly see any tourists or much traffic there.
Looking from the outside, there was no indication that the place was a popular local's hang-out because it wasn't filled with people nor had any ambience that was particularly notable. Regardless, I was looking forward to trying a place that was highly recommended by a friend.



The waitress came over to take the order but immediately had a little bit of a communication problem when we started asking questions about the menu because she didn't speak German or English very well. When Jakob started to speak in Italian in efforts to clarify the misunderstanding, the waitress got all frustrated and called for another waitress to handle, what she clearly felt, was a "problematic" table.

While I generally feel there should be no room for poor service (especially in today's business climate), I am occasionally willing to put up with poor service (and even a bit of abuse) from restaurant staff in order to eat what I hope will be good food... Remember the "Soup Nazi" episode from the Seinfeld show?

When I'm in Europe I generally don't expect good service in restaurants. It's just a different culture and I guess I feel that I shouldn't impose or expect my customs on the rest of the world. It will just diminish my travel experience and it would be unpleasant. So I try to go with the flow.

Was it worth it? As it turns out... Yes it was!
Since I went to Italy my first time many years ago, I've learned that good Italian food is simply made but fills your mouth with flavors and tastes that make you yearn for more.

I ordered Vitello Tonnato which is chilled veal with tuna sauce for the table to share. It's supposed to be one of the classic traditional Summer dishes in Italy. That was followed by Spaghetti alla Vongole for my entree. Simple dishes, but very tasty!!! I'm not a big bread person, but I thought they had the best bread ever!



Shortly after returning to Chicago, I went to an Italian restaurant called "Vivo", on Randolph (which is a historic part of the city where, to this day, all restaurants go to purchase their fresh seafood), and it is a pretty popular Italian place. Remembering the Spaghetti alla Vongole, I ordered the same dish expecting the same or similar taste, and as soon as I took the first bite, I quickly realized how bland, tasteless and flavorless it was, and felt embarrassed for the chef who prepared the dish. We even asked our waitress if there was a new chef because we have been going there for many years and were reasonably satisfied. Her response to us was that perhaps he was a bit tired because they had just finished a punishing evening the night before. Sorry! Not a good enough excuse to forget how BAD the dish was....

I don't understand why it's so hard to find a good Italian place in the US, despite of the countless Italian restaurants everywhere. I was told that it's all about the fresh ingredients. If that is the case, how sad is it that we can't get the fresh ingredients in the US, therefore we have to settle with less flavorful and less satisfying meals all our lives.

Please let me know if any of you know of great Italian restaurants in US and disagree with my feelings about not enough good Italian restaurants in US.

Check out the chef/owner Moreno Carusi's video of him cooking his popular Spaghetti alla Vongole dish. I think I should send this video link to the chef at Vivo, so he can learn how to make real Spaghetti alla Vongole!

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