Dinner at Il Grano two nights ago:
Pleasantly suprised to find Stefano, formerly of Valentino, late of Enoteca Drago at the front of the house.
To get the bad stuff out of the way: Outside of Stefano, staff is somewhat amateurish and in the case of one server, down right rude--almost literally threw butter plates on the table for example. Also, at 8 on a Thursday night the room is maybe a quarter full--not the restaurant's fault of course, but disquieting. I know many do not care about bread, but I do and what arrives in the basket is sub standard.
Started with a cheese flan appetizer of some kind, sprinkled liberally with white truffles. I may have gotten a few more shavings because Stefano remembered me, but the truffles (my first of the year) were excellent which bodes well for the rest of the season. The flan itself was pretty tasty but not the best base for truffles--nice to try them a new way though. My friend and a duck carpaccio which he said was good, not great.
Split a risotto with truffles for the entree. It's a great way to get your truffle fix without turning to a life of crime to pay for it, for as you know, risotto is quite filling. Here, Sal makes it without butter and it's superb but not quite as soul satisying as , say, Valentino's.
Dessert was semifreddo and some chocolate concoction, the love child of cake, mousse and gelato. Must have been a menage.
Afterwards Sal (or was it his doppleganger Rob Scheidner) took us in to the kitchen where he showed us how he made his starch dishes, in this case a simple aglio oglio (sp?) without butter. Also delicious. His passion for cooking is contagious and
and the experience was the perfect coda to the evening.