Oftentimes when you go out to a restaurant, and particularly an Italian one, your brain will try to steer you toward some of the more unique menu items. You've gone out to eat, your brain will plead, so you should be ordering something, at least, with a little meat or heavy cream in it. As much as you may be craving a simple pizza margherita, or a penne marinara, your brain will tell you that an order like that is far too pedestrian. Your friend sitting next to you, after all, just ordered the night's special -- a massive bone-in rib eye, served with root vegetable mash, sautéed rapini, and pan drippings.
But while those dishes can, obviously, be quite exciting, sometimes simplicity is foolishly overlooked. It was a craving for simplicity, in fact, that lead us to Terroni's spaghetti al limone. Can most decent home cooks prepare a satisfying dish containing the basic ingredients of spaghetti, capers, spinach, onions, Parmesan, and lemon? Absolutely -- and they should. But they should also go to Terroni, and enjoy the version with homemade spaghetti; salty, earthy capers; likely far too much shaved Parmesan cheese; and enough lemon to turn an entire swordfish into carpaccio.
It may be the perfect vegetarian entrée, fresh and bright, but also rich, robust, and filling. Of course, Terroni has many other items worth ordering too, but sometimes a combination as pure as spaghetti al limone can get lost on a menu -- inadvertently skipped due to the sight of words like "sausage," "guanciale," and "burrata." It shouldn't be. But if you really do miss those other things, we highly recommend going with a large group, and sharing everything.
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EAT THIS NOW: Spaghetti al Limone ($17) at Terroni.