Had a birthday dinner at Flour + Wine last night, and it was fabulous . . . mostly. Wife and I each had celery root soup with crab, apple, and almonds, and we agreed it was about the best soup we ever ate. Wife had celery root tortelli with brown butter, walnut and balsamico. This, too, was incredibly delicious. A perfect marriage of flavors.
I ordered the squid ink spaghetti with tesa, clams, fennel and pecorino. Now when I looked at the menu I focused on the squid ink spaghetti and clams, which sounded fantastic. Only when the dish arrived at the table did I think to ask what tesa might be. The answer was pork belly. Now I can't blame the restaurant for my failure to inquire about an ingredient I wasn't familiar with. But I just don't understand why anybody would pair pork belly and clams, let alone fennel, and expect anything but the pork belly to be discernible. I'm not sure I see the point of pairing pork belly with anything and expecting to taste anything but pork fat. I ate about half the pasta before reaching the point where I was unable to swallow another bite, and it was enjoyable in an indulgent, over-the-top sort of way. Obviously, a lot of people like it, because pork belly seems to be showing up all over the place. Me. I've had enough.
I will definitely go back to Flour + Water. It's a fantastic restaurant. But I'll make sure I know what I'm ordering the next time.
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