I've just returned from two weeks of "me" time spent on Nantucket, writing, and mostly just kicking around. I provisioned and cooked of my meals, which consisted of a lot of line-caught tuna, and tomatoes and corn from the farmstand. Labor Day Monday was my last night on-island, and I decided to go out for dinner. I lived on Nantucket for several years and I have many favorite haunts, but one of the best places these days is the trattoria Sfoglia: I called and reserved a table for one, and headed out on a drizzly Monday evening. If you haven't been to this restaurant, it is worth a weekend trip to the island. Now that summer is but a memory, you'll be able to enjoy a leisurely meal, in their capable hands. The cuisine is rustic Italian cooking, deftly done by husband/wife duo Ron and Colleen Suhanosky. They met while working in New York and in Boston; after cooking in Italy 3 yrs. ago they moved down to Nantucket and opened Sfoglia. Each is trained as a chef, and both trade off variously running the kitchen and working the dining room. What a luxury to have the chef at your table, explaining where he foraged the berries that morning, or where tonight's fish was caught (and by whom!). The service is exceptional even though the approach is informal. They have a beer/wine license, with a good selection of wine by the glass.
My end of the holiday weekend dinner at Sfoglia:9/1
Began with a glass of Prosecco, light, dry bubbly: a great way to open up the palate for what lies ahead.
Dinner for me consisted of two appetizers and a primi course:
First app. was a fritto misto -- amazingly good, and just enough, portion-wise. chunks of fish and squid were brought to the table sizzling hot and ethereally light. In the misto were fried lemon wedges and flash-fried basil, seasoned with a little hot pepper. very fresh and very tasty. Accompanied by a glass of Erbaluce, a dry white Italian wine with a bouquet of citrus peel and white flowers. Yum.
Next, a poached garden tomato served room temp: peeled and whole, in a puddle of tomato broth and surrounded by tiny leaves of arugula. Normally there would be gorgonzola crumbled here (according to menu), but they were out (Mine was the last order in to the kitchen, and the restaurant was to be closed for the rest of the week starting the very next day; so I guess it's understandable esp. given the frenzied weekend they had just survived... but the cheese would have made the dish shine....)
The primi course was corn risotto con frutti del bosco. This dish was bought to table by Ron, who explained that its ingredients change with season, and tonight's would probably be the last iteration of the summer preparation. But there it was: sweet corn risotto, with a wreath of sauteed chanterelles, and, surprising and luscious in the center: blackberries and blueberries, both plump and ripe to bursting on the tongue. That, with the sweetness of the corn and the creaminess of the risotto was a late summer night's dream for the palate. I enjoyed a half-order and was driven to melancholy and disbelief once I had cleaned my plate; though a full order should only be approached with an accomplice or with a ravenous appetite.
I usually like to go out on a limb when foraging for wine by the glass. During the past year I worked as GM at Metropolis Cafe in Boston, and my great joy was to find delicious wines of value for the restaurant. But tonight I couldn't imagine anything better to accompany the risotto than an old favorite, which was also included on Sfoglia's winelist: a Piemontese Chardonnay by Coppo. Italians making a killer Burgundian-style white? Believe it: this chardonnay grape sees no oak: its crispness complements the richness of the risotto, like two friends who synergistically play off of each other's best qualities. Like Fred and Ginger. Like Lucy and Desi. Like Will and Grace. Ok... you get the picture.
It broke my heart to refuse dessert. But I was utterly, happily sated. I drifted out into the rainy night, the last guest to leave the restaurant, but certainly not the last satisfied fan of the artistry that these two create. I headed back to my little rented cottage for the last time, content to fall asleep to the sound of the fog horn, perchance to dream of panna cotta, and my next dinner at Sfoglia.
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