If the brightly-lit stairway leading up to Salvatore Cuomo Bros., sitting proudly at the top of Daikanyama’s ultra-classy La Fuente building, is reminiscent of a theater, the chorus on entry rivals the boldest of Verdi’s arias. “Buena Sera” rang out from an enormous cast, and we were led through the arena to our seats in the newest of their three restaurants in the area. The understated interior of unfinished brick and high ceiling—decorated by no more than the air conditioning units—reflected all of the attention on to the buzzing audience. If ever there was an advertisement for simple interiors, this is it. The stage was set.
Sfogliata di mozzarella constituted the first act, the cheese accompanied by a tremendous quartet of basil, tomato and aubergine in layers with a pine nut sauce (JY1700). Juicy, succulent and piquant all in one mouthful, the acidity of the tomato was exquisitely partnered by the depth of the mozzarella. The shredded lettuce backdrop, just retaining some crunch, combined with the sautéed, puréed pine nut, added another dimension to the dish. Leaning Pisa-esque, it was, like all greatcantatrice, of generous proportions.
After a short interlude, we proceeded to thetagliolini ai zucchini (JY1900), which did not hit the high notes of the opener. The pasta was excellent, firm and fresh, the sauce was truly creamy and thickened with ricotta cheese, but the zucchini was well past al dente. The plate needed another color and the contents another flavor. But the orchestra was back on score with the elaborate lamb agnello alla scottigli (JY2600). Choreographed to perfection, the cutlet was served with a roué of chopped bacon, onion, leek and potato that sung in beautiful harmony with a slightly sweet sauce based on the fat of the lamb. The second act had turned into agrand opera—the food did all the talking.
Amply supported by two reds, the satisfying Sito Moresco (JY800 glass, JY4600 bottle) and complex, deeper Tarra Merra (JY1200 glass, JY5800 bottle), the performance had engrossed us, and we were lost in its’ time. The service was superb throughout, delivered by Japanese, Italians and French that we actually felt like we had got to know by the end, and two diners received an Italian rendition of "Happy Birthday" with a sparkling dessert. The chorus was already going home by the time that we left, and, contemplating a photo of the three Cuomo brothers, bet they could give their compatriot tenors a run for their lira.