Enoteca Pinchiorri...Part I
We were a three-top and our third never showed up, but beside the point, we were off to a great night. Walking through the freezing winter air, we found the well lit building which housed Enoteca Pinchiorri. Once in, we were immediately greeted, our coats were taken and I was issued a jacket because I don’t own one here in Italy. The jacket I borrowed wasn’t Armani, but it didn’t look too bad!
Our table was changed from three to two and we waited a few minutes in the lobby/waiting area. Once ready, we were led up to a false balcony seating area. Our table was one of three in our area. It was us, another deuce and a six-top. Our ‘room’ had one waiter and one sommelier in it at all time, and they were ours – always there.
The waiter was a young Japanese guy who has been with EP for three years – I thought at first he must be staging from the EP in Japan, but no, he is an employee there like all the others – and never has worked at the EP in Japan. The sommelier, originally from Rome, but Eric and I though from France, spent time in Spanish and French Michelin starred restaurants before relocating to Florence one month back. He mentioned to us that there is no greater restaurant in the world for a sommelier to work – for him, he is at the best of the best, of the best!
The first thing from the staff was a glass of spumanti – from Antinori, poured from a magnum. It was a great way to start the night. Next out were the pink napkins. The napkins were given to us from a plate, the server using the classic fork and spoon as his finger-extenders.
Starting on the left was the Duck Mousse with Black Sesame Seeds, then the Fillo with Ricotta ‘Cannelloni’ and Sun Dried Tomatoes / Black Olive as garnish and finally the taste all the way to the right, a different Duck Mousse on Soft Spiced Bread.
All three tastes were good – nothing over the top on any, but good.
The soup arrived at the table corked and the straw is what I used to suck the soup up. The soup was good, a bit on the acidic (beans going bad) side but the three crispy fried ravioli were out of this world. The pasta must have been the same for Torta Fritta because they were puffy and crisp and delicious. A nice plate – and yes, I made a nice, loud, straw slurping sound when I was at the last few drops of the soup. I will enjoy myself!
Our first wine from the wine tasting we chose was a 2002 vintage Bianco di Toscano Ancillo. This wine is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes and was very nice. It went well with the soup, cutting away the heaviness and cleaning the mouth for the next sip.
The bitter greens from the puntarelle went very well with the sweetness of the scallop. The chocolate and banana combo are a classic, and turned slightly savory, they worked well.
Finally, our first course from the tasting menu had arrived, although, I don’t want to make it seem like we were in a hurry! This black plate transferred the taste of Smoked Foie Gras with an Apple Jelly cube, Salt & Pepper and three droplets of Balsamico Tradizionale from the kitchen to our mouths, perfectly.
This smoked foie was a first for me, and I thought the extremely thin slice was on the skimpy side. The smoke flavor was a bit excessive and the apple jelly was really there to call that over powering down. The apple cube tasted of apple sauce – just apple sauce. Then, you season the whole plate yourself, with however much salt or pepper you want. There were only three drops of balsamico so that wasn’t an option; I smeared through the droplets on the first bite! On the side, we were given a few pieces of pruned toast – toasted bread with a prune jam on it. Very tasty, but I would have preferred a kick ass piece of brioche instead.
Our third wine, second on the tasting, was a Tenuta San Guido vintage 2000 Guido Alberto. This wine took the prize for the most amazing nose from a wine. The nose was so compact with smells of ripe red cherries, tobacco, leather – it was awesome. The taste was good too, but not equal to the tease from the nose. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot dominate this Tuscan blend from the famous maker of Sassicaia.
As for breads – throughout the night, we were served our choice from these:
· Parmigiano Crisps, Focaccia, Prune Toast, Chocolate Bread, Raisin Bread and Whole Grain Bread.
The red pepper foam was very intense and well seasoned bug the foam itself, the power of the foam, was very weak. By the time it got to the table, it was dying quickly and before the waiter even announced the dish, I went at the foam to try and see what I could get before it disappeared. The crab was fantastic and so was the asparagus, with a pinch of paprika to season them.
The fish course was next. This was a plate consisting of perfectly cooked Bass with a Puree of Celery Root, Deep Fried Mussels and a Mussel Foam with Saffron Oil.
The fish was great – perfectly cooked and just great. The deep fried mussels were passed through some seasoned bread crumbs and fried, skewered with a piece of bone on the plate. The mussel foam was great, well made and very tasty. The celery root was also, very nicely done with a hint of sweet butter to richen it up.
Yes, if you were thinking it, all these courses were served with the Guido Alberto, and all plates went well with the red wine.
The idea of the double ravioli is brilliant. I have never seen this before and think this can open many, many doors to endless combos of tastes. Basically, think of a rectangular piece of pasta dough. Put one filling on the right end and on filling on the left end. Fold the two ends towards the center – now you have two fillings, separated, but one piece of pasta. Very cool!
This is the end of Part I. Part II will be up shortly. Thanks for reading...spread the Gold!