This is one of the best meals I have had in the USA and I would actually put it in my top 10 globally, so I thought it was a good review to start off with.
This was for a meal at which my family and my better halves would meet for the first time and so needed to be special, thus needless to say; I did a lot of research into the restaurant style, chef’s and customer reviews before booking. The restaurant did not fail at any level. Service, food taste and execution, wine list (if a little heady) and atmosphere were all exemplary, with some outstanding and all time favourite dishes to add to my foodie repertoire.
We were a group of nine and thus had to opt for a tasting menu. We opted for the 5-course menu, within this the diner picks an antipasto, a main course and a desert and the table shares two pasta dishes.
Pre the antipasto dish arriving the waiter bought over some tasters from the chef, three each to be precise. The best was a chickpea fritter with truffle, known as a Panelle in Italian and originally from Sicily. It sounds like a simple dish, but the execution was outstanding given how difficult it is to create a fried product and still retain the delicate hint of truffle. This dish was so good; a request was put in immediately for me to attempt this at home.
Next was the individually selected antipasto, which for me was the Truffled Beef Tartare with crunchy Salsify Crisps. (See photo). Again a delicious dish, which was perfectly, executed, with meat, which melted in the mouth, a delicate hand with the truffle and a nice textural addition with the salsify crisps. I could have eaten this dish twice over and certainly had food envy from those that had chosen the sashimi platter, which whilst also beautiful (see photo), didn’t quite have the same impact.
Next were the two pastas, which for the table we choose lobster Pansoti (ravioli) and Orecchiette with Lamb Neck Ragu. I thought this would be a really filling part of the meal, but it was portioned well, with first 3 ravioli each and then a spoonful of the ragu. I love lobster and so for me this was the star pasta dish, but for the other side of the family who are Italian, the ragu was said to be better than their mothers (shhhhhhhh…). We asked the chef for the recipe, so I could be a good Italian wife and cook it when I go home, but they wouldn’t part with it and suggested we wait for the recipe book to come out in a few months (the only disappointing part of the meal), the ragu we were told had been cooked for seven hours, it was succulent and juicy, with a depth beyond any ragu I have ever tasted.
For my secondi I choose the Poached Lobster, as I wanted to keep some room for desert. The lobster was a small light dish, combined with artichoke, hazelnut, basil and tangerine. It was a beautifully light main, delicately put together.
For desert we were treated to the butterscotch semi freddo, the brown butter panna cotta and the melanzane e cioccolato, all amazing. Who would have known that sheep’s milk cheese and chocolate, eggplant, chocolate and balsamic vinegar all on crispy pastry would go together. Sounds crazy but it works. The best however was yet to come. The petit fours were amazing, including champagne vinegar caramels in an edible wrapper, a decadent extra virgin olive oil gelato lollipop topped with chocolate and toasted breadcrumbs and a classic bomboloni, a light Italian doughnut filled with vanilla cream.
All in all, this restaurant is the ultimate expression of Italian indulgence and refinement. Buonissimo!