Braised oxtail at Testaccio at The Gardens in New Hyde...

Braised oxtail at Testaccio at The Gardens in New Hyde Park Credit: Newsday/Peter Gianotti

Testaccio is a gritty neighborhood in Rome that's not on the familiar tourist route. You'll find it on the other side of the river from the more popular Trastevere.

And Testaccio used to house the city's slaughterhouse. The area remains a prime district to sample the "fifth quarter" beloved by Romans.

That "quarter" refers to offal. After the first four quarters of the animal went to the nobles, priests,  the affluent and the army, the rest of the fare went to the rest of the people. Oxtail, sweetbreads, tripe and pretty much everything else that was edible.

You'll find some very good offal at Testaccio at The Gardens, a newcomer and the offspring of a  Long Island City eatery. And there's a lot of other fine Roman-style food, too.

Come here for lush spaghetti alla carbonara and zesty tagiolini cacio e pepe, bucatini all'Amatriciana and rigatoni with oxtail ragu. The braised oxtail itself has straightforward appeal. Even better is the stewed tripe, with a savory red sauce finished with mint and pecorino cheese.

If you want to veer outside Rome, you'll also find fine eggplant and chicken Parmigiana and other dishes that define so many Italian spots on Long Island. But the Roman accent makes Testaccio at The Gardens a distinctive, very worthwhile place to visit.

Main dishes, $16-$30; pastas, $10-$21; antipasti and salads, $9-16.

Testaccio at the Gardens, 2232 Jericho Tpke., Garden City Park; 516-502-6900.

Oxtail at Testaccio.



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