SPQR is still one of the hardest restaurants to get into due to it’s small size and innovative and refined Italian inspired food.
My first visit was last year (read my review here) where I absolutely loved it and thought it was one of my favorite meals of 2015. Since it’s been almost a year since my previous visit, I was excited to see what they had to offer. Portions are definitely on the smaller size so ordering numerous plates is not a problem.
One awesome aspect of being in the hospitality business is that you constantly meet tons of people. When I worked at Lazy Bear, so many stages (interns/people working as a job trial) would come through the kitchen. I instantly recognized the only girl in SPQR’s kitchen as a previous stage at Lazy Bear and went up to say hi to her. The kitchen not only sent us various petit fours (after dinner desserts) but also gave us an industry discount (this also happened at Liholiho Yacht Club and Cotogna, hell yeah)!
We started off with the smoked sturgeon salad which sounded very intriguing with unusual flavors. The slices of smoked sturgeon were flavorful and served with a spreadable smoked sturgeon similar to a rillette with an airy beet cake and pickled red beets. Interesting yet delicious.
Next we had the wild smoked duck and liver terrine which was decadent and rich. Perfectly cooked tender pieces of smoked duck breast with a creamy buttery liver terrine served with a rosemary pear brioche and a sweet pear butter. I enjoyed this dish but I preferred the duck liver dish that we had at our last visit.
The last appetizer was the red trout and roe. Simple but well executed with clean flavors. Crispy skin and moist trout with salty roe, an aromatic dill crema, acidic relish, and creamy fingerling potatoes.
Now onto my favorite part of any meal…carbs (especially since I’m a sucker for pasta). The kabocha squash tortelli were my favorite out of the three we tried. Little flavor bombs with an earthy scrumptious rosemary brown butter sauce, sweet medjool dates, and salty Piave cheese. Sooo good, I could eat entire bowl. The buckwheat fusilli was my second favorite; I loved that the fusilli was made out of buckwheat, giving it a nutty flavor, with sweet pieces of cider braised suckling pig and bitter rapini (broccoli rabe). However, I would have liked if the pieces of pork were smaller chunks or shredded. The last pasta was the hazelnut orecchiette, the richest out of the three pastas. The lamb and bacon ragù was unctuous and paired brilliantly with the bitter charred radicchio and sweet hazelnuts.
Now the desserts were slightly disappointing compared to my previous experience. My last visit the desserts were absolutely stellar but this time they were lacking something. The coconut bomboloni were tasty especially with the passionfruit curd but needed something else to elevate the dish. The tiramisu was good but wasn’t the best I’ve ever had.
Even though I enjoyed my meal at SPQR, I think the food was better my first visit. Therefore I’d have to rate them at a 8/10 instead of my former rating of 8.5-9/10.