Two nights ago I met with an Italian language group in a newly opened Italian restaurant on NE Alberta Street. Called Enzo's Caffe Italiano, it features traditional Pugliesi food. Chef Enzo Lanzadoro is from Puglia, and he grew up near the city of Matera (pictured above and below), which was made famous by Mel Gibson's movie the Passion of the Christ. The region is best known for making wines with Negroamaro, Primitivo, and Aglianico.
Walking into the unpretentious restaurant immediately took me back to Puglia. The Italian language group, with 15 or so people, looked like an Italian family at Sunday dinner. The table dominated the small restaurant, leaving only two other tables for the other diners. The components of the restaurant's antipasto were on display, from marinated peppers to salami. Some of the traditional dishes that Enzo serves are orecchiette con rape (orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabb) and Spaghetti Carbonaro alla Bari (spaghetti carbonara is known as a dish from Rome, but the people of Bari will strongly disagree: the Baresi version includes carmalized onions). Enzo's wife explained that she makes the orecchiette daily and that she uses 90.999 percent semonlina flour; the remainder is a secret.
Especially awesome was seeing the wine list, which almost exclusively featured Pugliesi wines (prices between $19-$30). There are wines by Castello Monaci, Vincenzo Vita, Paolo Leo, and others. If you want to go to Puglia for a decent price, I definitely recommend Enzo's Caffe Italiano.