Well, this is a little embarrassing.
After rhapsodizing last week about finally having a date night with my husband, I find myself writing about date night again.
Yep — two weeks of date night in a row! I really, truly can't remember the last time that happened.
This second week, though, we skipped the movie and concentrated solely on dinner. Luckily, the meal on which we spent our evening came from Roma Ristorante, so it was well worth the time and attention.
Roma is one of those places that just has a good vibe. The restaurant's current strip-mall digs are not as unique as its former domed building in Millcreek. But the atmosphere in the Murray location is attractive, comfortable and almost as congenial as the service from the enthusiastic, experienced staff.
I love visiting restaurants where staff members obviously know and love the food, and Roma is that kind of place. Our server, who told us she started out as a customer and ate at Roma so much she eventually decided to take a job there, made intelligent and even impassioned recommendations.
Roma has the kind of fairly simple Italian menu — salad, a few pastas, some entrees — that always makes me optimistic about quality. Each weekend brings a handful of specials that offer more variety.
I went with a special, the veal scallopini, that was one of the prettiest plates I've seen recently. On the left were pounded-thin veal cutlets, egg-breaded, cooked golden-brown and ladled with Portobello mushroom sauce. On the right, a snow-white bed of house-made gnocchi with Alfredo sauce and a few ruby-red grape tomato halves. And in the middle, a colorful melange of asparagus, squash and carrots.
Did it taste as good as it looked? No. It tasted better. The veal was tender, beautifully flavored and creatively complemented by the more aggressive mushroom sauce. The gnocchi were meltingly simple and nourishing, and the veggies tender and buttery.
I haven't yet mentioned the house salad I had beforehand, a simple presentation of greens, tomatoes and puckery olives lightly dressed with vinaigrette and a few grinds of pepper. Forking up its buttery, pungent leaves was a great way to begin the meal.
My husband started with the Caesar salad, which effectively covered the basics: fresh and crunchy romaine, smooth dressing, shavings of Parmesan and croutons.
For dinner, he had the pork mignons, the second-prettiest plate I've seen recently. On three mounds of mashed potato flavored with roasted red pepper were juicy medallions of pork wrapped in prosciutto, with crinkle-cut beets on top and veggies on the side.
Though the meat had all of pork's rich and distinctive flavor, the fork-tender texture was more like beef filet mignon — quite an achievement.
We lingered over dessert, enjoying my limoncello cake with delicate crumb topping, fine-textured cake and creamy filling; and my husband's apple strudel, the real, highly flavorful kind with all the folds of pastry and loads of apples and raisins.
Appetizers $4.50-$9.95, pasta $11.95-$14.95, entrees $15.95-$23.95, desserts $5.95.
Stacey Kratz is a freelance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret News.
Where: 5468 S. 900 East, Murray
Hours: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-10 p.m.; Saturday, 5-10 p.m.; closed Sunday
Payment: Major credit cards accepted
Wheelchair access: Easy