Massimo to the Max Massimo Pallottelli, the Roman chef who brought San Antonio its most authentic Italian restaurant, now has new digs that match the quality of his menu. Slickly dramatic, Massimo Ristorante Italiano uses every design trick in the book to seduce you: walls painted a deep, tawny gold; “ancient” frescoes; imposing statuary; and a rustic, deeply carved buffet table. Am I won over? Of course. And the food’s as good as ever. My favorite stuzzichini (light bites) still come from the lavish antipasti spread, with its changing selection of herbed olives, crisp puff pastry “sandwiches” filled with pâté, filo breadsticks sprinkled with bacon bits, fagioli e cipolle salad (cannellini beans and chopped onion drizzled with olive oil), and the like. From the menu, I order risotto or the homemade pasta del giorno (the squid-ink tagliatelle is as delicate as tissue). Desserts, such as the panna cotta (above), always tempt, but I think it’s more fun to finish with a drink in the Ferrari-red bar. That’s the place for a serious seduction.
From the June 2002 Issue Subscribe