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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

GAWA Day #36B: Truffle Risotto in Venice--Maybe, My Best Dish Ever

I had my much anticipated dinner tonight at the St. Regis San Clemente.  The name of the restaurant is Acquerello, and the Executive Sous Chef is Damiano Brocchini.  Nearly a week ago, I also dined here and Alex, the person who seemed to be in charge, introduced me to Damiano.  We talked about my returning in a week or so and having a truffle risotto to eclipse the white truffle risotto I had at La Terrazza in Rome five years ago (left).

So with great anticipation I showed up, and everyone here seemed to have remembered me and were also awaiting this almost epochal event.  I only ordered a green salad with tomatoes, plus that special risotto.  with glasses of Chianti and Pinot Grigio:

Last week we had talked about saffron and a slice of raw onion, but this was definitely pink, and I did not ask him why.  Of course, natural saffron is red, so, perhaps this was a unique way of preparing saffron.   A pink/green combo is evocative of a gourmet brunch, so, why not?  In any case, the truffles risotto was "better" than the Rome version.  This was black truffles, and far exceeded the white truffles risotto I had for lunch yesterday at Quadri in the Piazza San Marcos.  Scroll down to read about this exceptional meal.  Thus, then, this St. Regis version must be the best one dish I've ever had.

The title above only says maybe, and there is a reason why I have qualified the experience.  Damiano and I talked about a further enhancement:
  • saffron
  • slice of raw onion, perhaps 3/8 of an inch thick
  • frying a quarter inch thick foie gras
  • placing this foie gras between the risotto and onion slice
  • sprinkling some saffron and shaving a generous amount of white truffles over the onion
  • pouring the scalding hot oil from the foie gras pan onto the onion/saffron/truffles to par-cook the onion
  • placing six large leaves (there was only a hint this time) of basil around the onion ring
Thus, we will have Risotto Damiano:
  • artistically green and yellow, although pink and green would work quite well
  • resulting in an epicurean pasticcio of white truffles, foie gras, saffron and onion over a classical al dente risotto
I feel certain we will meet someday again.  Perhaps it will be at Damiano's Michelin 3-Star restaurant, with Alex as the maitre d'.  I will again anticipate my best dish ever:  Risotto Damiano.

Damiani provided a sherbet with strawberries and basil, which I had with an expresso:

The whole meal was billed for $125, well worth the value when considering that a salad, soup and beer at the Westin Europa and Regina cost $75.  Next, Frankfurt.


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