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truffles at Assagio in Portland (long)

Mario Peri | Nov 15, 200311:07 AM

What a disappointment! Went to Assagio last night for their truffle menu. We have been there many times (sans truffles) and have had marvelous meals. I had really high hopes and was looking forward to another great meal there, Last night, however, was very mediocre.

A couple of minor annoyances first. One of the owners, who possessed the truffles to be shaved onto your dish, insisted upon thrusting them under your nose for you to smell. If I want to smell the truffles, I'll ask. I've had them before and know what they smell and taste like. That's why I'm here! It wasn't just me who found this off-putting. My wife and the couple we dined with didn't like it much either.

I thought it a bit gauche that the menu copy made such a big deal about how much the truffles cost this year. I know that truffles are expensive, but you don't have to go on about it. Both the mandatory smelling and the cost seem to indicate that the folks at Assagio believed that those of us dining there during the truffle extravaganza are neophytes and bumpkins. At least that's what it felt like to me.

As far as the dishes go, my risotto was average and I thought that the amount of white truffle shave onto the dish didn't justify the $20 premium added to the cost. My wife ordered what I thought had great potential to be sublime--a simple fresh made angel hair with fresh shaved truffles on top. Again, too skimpy on the truffle.

We'll go back to Assagio again, just not during the truffle season.

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