Restaurant Preview: Pax Romana

The full name of Pax Romana, the new restaurant that took over the space that formerly housed Taleggio, includes the word Pastificio—meaning “pasta-maker.” The 80-seat eatery lives up to this part of the moniker in impressive fashion, with a $12,000+ Bottene pasta machine cranking out house-made pastas, like cocoa-infused pappardelle and whole-wheat penne. There’s also a pasta bar, where you can sit and watch your dinner being made.   

Just don’t expect huge plates of red-sauced Italian American cuisine.

Fusilli with Roman broccoli, red onion, and ricotta salata

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“Our portions are moderately sized,” says co-owner Christian Runco of North Salem. “We’re going for a European model of dining, where guests can order an app, entrée, and dessert and not feel overly full. We’re the opposite of abbondanza-style of dining; instead, it’s as if you were dining in a household in Italy.”

A Roman household to be exact. Chef Cristian Petitta, an Eastchester resident and previously of La Bocca in White Plains, has crafted a menu inspired by Roman cuisine. Items to try include chickpea stew, braised artichokes, oxtail ravioli, roasted porchetta pizza, and spaghetti carbonara, made the way Romans eat it—no cream or mushrooms; just egg yolk, guanciale, black pepper, and pecorino. “Most of our dishes are just four ingredients or so,” says Petitta. “True Italian cooking is simple and uses fresh ingredients.” 

Be sure to try the lasagna or any of the dishes with sausage, made by Christian Runco’s grandma Giovanna, or the pizzelle in the gelato sundaes, made by Graziella Fante (co-owner Paul Russo’s grandma).

Also of note is the graffiti wall in the rear of the restaurant, which is covered in Roman-dialect slang. One line reads: “You cannot live off love alone, you also need carbonara.”  

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