Eating Brains Will Not Make You Smarter!

Jen picked a wonderful restaurant in the heart of Verona, romantically hidden from site, lending the feeling of authenticity (as opposed to “touristy”).  We were visiting the amazing city for the day (read all about our visit HERE) and had pre-selected, Ristorante Greppia as our place for pranzo (lunch).

The small street leading to Ristorante Greppia

We were instantly taken in by the charm and warmth of the restaurant.  The wait staff elevated our excitement for the meal to come by extending great courteousness and hospitality (indulging me as I took photos with this blog in mind).

Jen and Julia out front
Dining al fresco

We eagerly reviewed the menu and decisions came easily for the women (pasta for both).  I had a bit of a harder time deciding between the Ossobucco di Vitella con Polenta (braised veil shanks with polenta), Fegato di Vitella con Polenta (veil liver with polenta) or Cervello Dorate di Vitello (“golden” veil brain).  I’m not afraid to gamble and I’m certainly adventurous with my food – so I left the meal to chance and asked the server for his recomendation of the three (rather hoping he’d land on the liver or brain).  Of course he chose the brain (why oh why couldn’t he have just suggested the rather normal and delicious ossobucco?!) and so I willingly obliged.

Some of Ristorante Greppia’s Wine Selection

Jen and her mother Diane started with an Insalata Caprese (tomato and mozzarella salad) and I added a side of Patate al Forno (roasted potatoes) with my brains.  “Yes, I’d like a side of potatoes with my brains please”… I didn’t quite realize how silly this all sounds until just now as I was typing!

The salads were brought out after we’d had a nice chance to enjoy some wine.

Insalata Caprese

Jen’s mom, Diane chose a delicious Rigatoni al Ragu (a rigatoni noodle in a meat sauce), while Jen chose the Tris della Casa (three of the house) pastas which included a gnocchi, a spaghetti and a pappardelle.

Rigatoni al Ragu
Tris della Casa

When my cervello (brains) were served, they looked perfectly breaded (just ever-so lightly) and wonderfully pan fried. I took my first bite and… the consistency was a bit – well, perhaps brainy?!  I took a second bite.  I think I’ll go with… “rich”.  I took another and another.  My descriptors to the ladies moved from “good” to “unique” to “interesting” to “a one time experience” to “I’m done” rather quickly!

Five LARGE sections of the cervello (brain)
Potate al Forno (roasted potatoes) on the side

Had there been one section for me to nibble on as just an appetizer, I likely would have left feeling elated I was brave enough to eat brain and content with my meal.  But since there were five little buggers staring me in the face and it was my entree, I was filled with dread after my second section.  I decided two and a half sections (out of five) was enough.  This was the first time since I’ve lived in Italy that I can remember leaving a meal hungry!

It may look like fried mozzarella – I assure you, it’s not!

The girls thoroughly enjoyed their pasta and Diane (who is very consistent with her ordering) joked with me after the meal; “you guys (myself, Jen and her husband Dominic) love to order these strange things – but you never know if you’re going to like your meal.  I can always tell you that I’m going to love mine!”  And she’s absolutely right – but I’ll continue to double down when possible and try the unusual menu items – because those have often been the best meals I’ve ever had.  This experience will not rate in that category, but it will certainly land in the more memorable section!

I kept imagining the zombies from my favorite iPhone game saying “BRAINS!”

Next time you’re in Verona – check out Ristorante Greppia and enjoy your food.  Just use your brain and steer clear of theirs.  Buon appetito!

Homemade Pizza - Sorry Mr. Delivery Man
Wherefore art thou Julieta? Oh... Your Home is in Verona

3 thoughts on “Eating Brains Will Not Make You Smarter!”

  1. Wow Greg, way to go! I am so happy to see you are branching out to try new and unusual dishes. That way you will fully experience your time in Italy. Shocked to see Diane order something other than Spaghetti Marinara. Hopefully, Julia will take after you and her Grandpa, not her mom and Grandma.

  2. Haha, I just wrote a post today about my first time eating brains in Florence last week… and linked to Plants vs. Zombies too!

    Ya, they aren’t my cup of tea, but I had to try them.

    Verona is great for horse, have you tried any?

  3. Hi Tiana – thanks for reading. We still haven’t made it to Florence yet, but we have tentative plans to go next week. I can promise you that I will avoid any brains!

    I have heard that Verona is great for horse, but I draw the line at horse, dog and cat (all dishes I’ve had the opportunity to eat). Pretty much anything else is fair game though.

    Funny that you thought of Plants vs. Zombies too. Can’t wait to check out your blog.

Please let me know your thoughts!