As I mentioned in my last post, I can't always start a multi-course meal at 9:00pm. I'll be up till 2am with a heart rate nearing cardiac arrest levels trying to digest 10 courses. Which is why there are multi-course lunch options with the same menu as dinner.
One of those options is the Michelin-stared Ristorante Parizzi.
To start, compliments of the chef, a Parmigiano waffle. Tasty. A good waffle. The next level would have been to sauce it with balsamic as the "syrup" or Saba because basically it's a lonely waffle that needed a partner. Balsamic infused butter? Fried chicken? (too American) Gorgonzola honey? I liked the waffle, but it needed something to pair with it.
A second amuse was a mache salad with stuff I couldn't identify. It was very good and was perfect with the Pinot. It sort of looked like and tasted like cous cous spiked with saffron and sun dried tomatoes. But I can't be sure. It was all served cold....I liked it, I just wished I asked again what was in it.
The wine for my game bird courses was a Movia 2005 Slovenian Pinot Noir and it was outstanding. 92 pts by W&S at release, this wine drinks fresh, with full-palate depth, I wouldn't have expected. Cherry skins, licorice and completed integrated and well rounded tannin structure. I would have loved to try this wine at release to compare.
Cracker sandwiches of pheasant pate were next up. The Pheasant pate was uber smooth in texture, a fitting foil for the cracker crunch. In the middle of each pate cracker sandwich, there were caramelized onions waiting for you. The appropriate contrast for the rich smoothiness of pate. Gelatin, placed as garnish, was made with white wine and offered yet more contrast and all important acid to pate cracker sandwich. Well done overall and visually attractive.
Roasted quail with winter salad. The quail was delicious, moist and well seasoned. The winter salad of persimmon, fennel and pomegranate seed is a combination I expect from a 1-Star establishment at this time of year. I could have done without the chickpea cake, don't think it added much. The dish was paired spot on with the Slovenian Pinot. And since I ate the bones with my fingers, they gave me a bowl of warm water with a towel in it to clean my fingers prior to the next course. Excellent attention to detail and unexpected.
Pasta with duck and a bit of broccoli rabe was a high point. I love my pasta. If you're worried about gamy flavors, broccoli rabe will get rid of that notion in a hurry. Sharp flavors of broccoli rabe that contrast the warm, rich, wild flavors that come with rich duck pasta. I like the dish very much and could easily see cauliflower or cabbage used as the contrast to the duck. Possibly a grilled item, such as fennel, as a further flavor development.
To finish the Degustazione di Terra menu, a grand presentation of loin with foie gras. The middle of the loin was punched out and foie gras was inserted in the middle. Three sauces or garnishes surrounded the main, true center-of-plate many a chef fail at creating. Not whispers and smears of sauce, but statements of sauce. The foie and loin were balanced out. I thought for sure the foie would have been the star, it almost always is, but there was harmony here.
Both the duck and the loin/foie were paired with Castello di Farnetella 2007 Cabernet, Syrah, Sangiovese, Merlot from Sinalunga near Siena in Tuscany. The wine was beginning to give off a hint of oxidation and raisin notes on the nose after about 10 minutes in the glass, on a bottle that was poured to 3/4 empty. I'd say the wine was paired off better with the beef and foie than with the duck filled pasta, as the broccoli through it all off. More thought needs to go into the pasta and wine pairing because of the flavor profile.
Regional cheese selection focusing on one item and one region...Parmigiano Reggiano! Duh! 14, 24, 36 months from different areas of the province. I've experienced this type of tasting before a while back in San Francisco, when the Consortium for Parmigiano came to visit and presented to the trade. I liked the 24 month cheese for this tasting.
Pre dessert #1, Creme anglaise w lemon was light and easy dusted w chocolate. I like this Pre-Dessert compliment a lot. Refreshing, colorful and clean. Winner.
Chosen dessert...chocolate cannoli with candied orange and raspberry coulis. Cannoli shells are filled fresh, as they are crunchy, not soggy. Easy, one-bite cannoli. Candied fruit and crushed nuts are often served with cannoli, and there was no exception here. I don't like candied fruit inside my cannoli. I want the option to eat it separately; Parizzi gave me the option to explore the candied fruit on my own, which, I happened to really like. Great dish. Fun, exciting to look at, playful and well de-constructed.
Post dessert...In rapid fire and in order of how I consumed them: raspberry topped panna cotta was about as light and clean as Pre-Dessert #1; therefore it was devoured. Creme brûlée was not so good, I had one bite and finished. The 4 candied nuts were good so I ate them all, the single chocolate truffle was good, the single lemon ball was great. Done, done and done.
From the cheese course through the last dessert, the wine offered was a 2006 Planeta Burdese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc blend from Sicily. 92 pts by WE and one of their Top 100 wines on release and 91 by WS on release. Riper edge when compared to the other wines I sampled at Parizzi, with prunes, tobacco and spice. The bright fruit was gone, this was a wine that needs to be drunk sooner rather than later. I appreciate its longevity, but it was least favorite wine in the mix; Slovenian Pinot wins the wine award today.
Grappa to finish. No espresso today.
Service was solid, attentive but not intrusive. Everyone hustled and I never felt rushed or alone. Stemware replaced swiftly, silverware replaced swiftly, plates taken away 80% of the time by the time I placed the utensils down. Everything is brought on a cart or in a tray and placed away from the table and then brought to you from a service location in the center of the dining room. Michelin service standards here, professional.
A very good experience at Parizzi. The level of service, attention to detail, intricacies on the plate, and atmosphere all lead to a professional dining experience in a restaurant that is expected to cater to a wider, international clientele because of their star rating. Is this better than some of the other places I've dined so far? No. Is it worse? No. It's apples and pineapples; very different dining experiences. Each with their own expectation level though.