When I heard about Grotto's 7-course truffle dinner, both black and white, with wine for $100 per person, I thought it was a fantastic value. Well, that was an understatement, and I think you'll know what I mean when I post the menu.
I've been a huge fan of Grotto ever since Limster discovered this wonderful restaurant and posted about it on CH years ago, and once again what a fantastic time we all had. We had a lively group of six and we were all looking forward to the night. Affable Grotto chef Scott Herritt enthusiastically got the evening started as he told the room the lengths he went to to get these truffles for us, working hard with his contacts to finally procure the elusive white truffle. Due to weather conditions, it's been more difficult than usual, and as mentioned in Grotto's newsletter earlier this week "The weather has slowed the truffle maturing process, but the persistent Grotto has acquired the culinary jewel---just a few short hours ago a batch of excellent quality truffles arrived.": In fact, Grotto is the only restaurant in Boston to have had white Alba truffles on the menu last night. Lucky us!
The wines (all from Piedmont) were chosen by George Schwartz, who is the Northeast regional director of sales for Vias Wine Importers. Not only was he friendly, knowledgeable and engaging, but we all really enjoyed the wines he had chosen. He mentioned that Scott and he worked hard on these pairings and it showed. Also, I appreciated it that each table was given an informative packet with a map of Italy and Italian producers, and a full page on each wine with information on the vineyard, soil, aging process, production, tasting notes, etc.
Onto the food - the amazing dishes are pretty self-explanatory, and 9Lives' pics will follow (I'll let the CHs with more wine expertise comment on the pairings):
Sushi grade tuna with shaved truffles, black-truffle horseradish aioli, pomegranate seeds, and micro-greens
Garlic and black truffle soup, truffle froth, and garlic bread crumbs
Frisee salad with poached egg, pork belly, pork glaze, shaved truffles, and truffle vinaigrette
Duck and black truffle meatball with dried cherry-Barbera gastrique, and foie gras ravioli
Ricotta and truffle gnocchitini, truffle crema, fresh shaved Alba white truffles, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and mushroom reduction
Pan-roasted beef tenderloin with Barbaresco Bordelaise, white asparagus, truffle butter-poached lobster, and black truffle zabaglione.
All this was finished off with three decadent chocolate truffles and a glass of sparkling Brachetto D'Aqui.
I also have to mention the gougeres, and delicious warm bread served at the start of the meal. Service was just excellent, even on such a busy night with one seating. Everybody was friendly, patient, and the courses were timed and run so smoothly, it really contributed to enjoying the meal.
I thought all the dishes were wonderful, but some swoon-worthy standouts for me were the duck meatball and foie gras ravioli (with a 2004 Elvio Cogno Barbera d'Alba), the amazing white truffle gnocchitini with truffle crema, and the melting tender beef tenderloin with perfectly-cooked buttery lobster. I know E mentioned more than once that the garlic and black truffle soup (served with a 2005 Cogno Anas-Cetta Langhe Bianco) was "the best soup I've ever had", and that he'd be back for many of the dishes, even without truffles.
Simply a fantastic evening, and just another reminder of why I love Grotto - a friendly staff, wonderful food, and a passionate chef.