Truffles & Autumn Mushrooms Dinner at Oliveto Report
We had a fantastic dinner last night, both of us did not expect it to be as great as it was and thankfully it was because it was my bf b-day and he had wanted to do their truffle dinner.
We ordered a small whole white truffle so we could have as much as we wanted on each dish.
Poached salted farm egg with Cardoons, celery, black trumpet mushrooms and fonduta valdostana- this dish was heavenly and seductive.
Salad of Fall vegetables with banga cauda- this was perfect blend of crunch and texture with the vegetables and the slight hint of anchovies in the warm dressing, like a tonnato sauce.
Paired with Gavi di Gavi La Caplana di Guido Natalino, Piedmont 2004- a nice tart fruit, floral with a mineral finish.
Both had the Tagliatelle with Herbs and fonduta Valdostana- this was the perfect pasta (egg, wide) dish and where we shaved the most truffles onto, the potency of the truffles really came through. I think I tasted Armagnac in this dish. Delicious!!
Paired with- a nice red Barbaresco "Martinenga" Marchesi di Gresy, Piedmont 2001- this really opened up after 8 min. or so the last sip few sips were nice.
Roasted Monkfish al tabaccaio with Leeks and Fresh-Milled polenta- this was my dish. Pan roasted fish very nice flavors and the polenta was excellent.
Spit-Roasted Paine Farm Pigeon with Drunken Sultana Raisins, Walnuts and Liver crostini- My boyfriend love this dish.. I on the other hand would not touch it. I just cannot eat Pigeon no matter where it comes from.
Monkfish- Barolo, "La Rocca e La Pira" Roagna, Piedmont 1997- this was nice with the monkfish, it tasted like cooked fruit, nice cheery and spice to linger with. I did not linger too long and had a second glass!!
Pigeon- Refoso-Cabernet Franc-Merlot, "Mattia", Palmina, Santa Barbara 2005.
We had a nice young woman server that helped us in the wine choices and was very good at her job.
We were buzzed and happy and our cab arrived to take us back to the city.
I wasn't going to post.
I love the restaurant and have had consistently good food and service- until the truffle dinner. We had the same waiter I'm willing to bet.
We had a wait of and 1 1/2 hours from ordering to pasta course. And we came in at 9 PM.
Many, many other things went wrong and we gave up on our main course, altogether. It was very disappointing and surprising. I will give them a pass given how many good meals we've had. Next time I'll request one of the really good wait staff they have.
And I won't let it go if this happens again!
We went on Thursday, and I think maybe my expectations were too high. It was good and all, and of course the truffles were a great experience, but it was not as transcendent as I expected.
Service was extremely uneven. We were asked at the outset if we wanted truffles on our dishes, and said yes, ostensibly notifying them to come to our table when food arrived, to shave the truffles on. Twice we had to wait so long our food was barely lukewarm once the truffles were on there. I do realize it was very busy, but to me that was not cool considering the entire point of the dinner was the truffles. Our server appeared to be very new - I am generally very forgiving having waited tables for years myself, but I don't really know why they'd put someone brand new on the floor during a night like that. He also had no real knowledge of several of the dishes we asked about - he had NO idea what the chestnut/persimmon dessert was, for example. It was rather disillusioning as we were truly expecting a top-notch overall experience.
We had the poached egg and sformatino, then the tagliatelle and the prime rib. Everything was perfectly good but nothing made me say "wow", which is really saying something considering I've been wanting to go to a truffle dinner as long as I can remember, and we realy splurged on getting quite abit shaved onto the dishes. The dessert we shared - the vin santo and hazelnut gelato, was completely boring. However, the plate of homemade walnut biscotti was outstanding.
One other rather annoying aspect was that we were seated at a 2-top right near the top of the stairs and the bar, an extremely high-traffic area which would have been fine except that the floor and our table and chairs shook noticeably each tome someone walked by, which was about 25 times per minute. It just wasn't all that relaxing.
All in all, we were glad to have experienced it, but wouldn't make a special effort to go back any time soon...
Hello all - I'm the bf Lori is talking about. (Hey baby!) I just wanted to add a little bit to Lori's post.
I've had white truffle before but not in this quantity or quality, and not in this kind of focused experience. I've also never eaten upstairs at Oliveto. Both are hyped and critiqued endlessly. I went in with an open mind and both exceeded my expectations. It took me 37 years to find out why people rave so much about fresh white truffles, but now I understand.
The aroma hit us over the head when we walked in. Just intoxicating. I stopped short at a large plate of truffles under a glass cake cover. Then I looked around and saw a few more plates like it and knew it was going to be a fun night.
As some of you know the menu offers a la carte choices with optional white truffle shavings at $7/gram. The ordinary approach is for the server to shave truffle until you say "when." They weigh the truffle before and after and charge for what's missing. This makes it hard to estimate the cost, and although this was a splurge night it could easily get out of hand. Just after we got settled a woman next to us had a small amount shaved onto her pasta – like 2-3 swipes – and the server estimated it to be about 2 grams. I knew we wanted about 2-3 times the amount on our pasta and gave in to the fact it would be an expensive experience (no surprise there).
Before we ordered our server brought us a plate with 4-5 truffles for us to smell and handle. They were firm and incredibly fragrant. Instead of playing the "say when" shaving game I picked one about the size of golf ball or so and asked her to weigh it. It came back at 16 grams. I said "We'll take it" figuring it would be easier to ration without busting the bank. This also meant our truffle spent the evening at the table with us, so we could really get to know one another. It was great fun to fondle and smell the truffle as we ordered and waited for our food. We each even had a little nibble! To me this was a lot better than having the truffles disappear after you got your shavings.
I went in thinking I would have truffle on one dish, like a simple pasta. But as it turned out I had at least some with every dish, and it was all wonderful. The poached egg was an incredibly luxurious dish, very rich and creamy, just a fantastic platform for the truffle. The tagliatelle was everything I hoped for and more - very simple, perfectly cooked, simply sauced. It was here that we used most of our truffle.
The spit-roasted pigeon was earthy, rustic elegance at its best, very much my kind of food. Lori was a bit put off by the presentation, which included the legs and feet hanging off the plate, but I loved it. (I tried to wait until she was looking the other way before gnawing on the bones.) The breast was served wonderfully rare, and it had just the right amount of smoke from the fire and natural gaminess. The pigeon liver crostini really brought out the "liveriness" in the meat. The plate was balanced by sweetness in the raisins and the additional crunch and nuttiness of the walnuts. We didn’t have a lot of truffle left at that point but what we had enhanced the woodsy flavors of everything.
Since this is Chowhound I'm trying to find something to complain about, but I'm having a very hard time. I very much enjoyed our wines, particularly the Barbaresco. However, at $20 – $26 a glass for the reds we spent a lot more on wine than we would have if we had ordered two reasonably priced bottles. If I have any advice for people attending these dinners, it would be to spend more on truffles, less on wine. There are other nights to focus on wine.
Just had to chime in on Oliveto's Truffle Dinner. We went Friday night and it's certainly an experience to be had. Previous posts about Oliveto's poor service seem outdated. We arrived an hour early and were promptly seated.
Oliveto had a wine list selected for the evening filled with wines that go well with truffle. We started with a beautiul 1993 Roagna Barolo and a 2001 Barbaresco. We later added a spectacular white burgandy.
Poached farm egg with cardoons and black trumpet mushrooms and fonduta valdostana. As everyone else have said, the fonduta, runny egg yolk, and black trumpet mushrooms helped accentuate the alba truffles.
Sformatino of pumpkin and castelmagno cheese and walnuts. This was a souffle-like creation that was very good by itself. We put a couple of slices of truffle on this to confirm that yes, truffles did not add much to the dish. The pumpkin and the truffles were each too distinct to meld well.
Tagliatelle with herbs: We also piled the truffles on this dish which elevated the tagliatelle to an ethereal status.
Crespelle of dungeness crab and porcini. This dish was so good I couldn't figure out if the truffles added to the dish or not. I didn't care. How can you go wrong with sweet crab and earthy porcini?
Polenta farinata with wild boar ragu. I elected not to get truffle on this dish. I didn't want the richness of the boar to be masked by the truffle and vice versa. Truffle night or not, this was one of the highlights of the evening. The farro had such an amazing texture and the ragu had such an amazing flavor...it was the ultimate comfort food
Roasted monkfish with leeks and milled polenta. This was perhaps the best dish to highlight the truffles. Something about the polenta and leek cream sauce proved to be the perfect vehicle in delivering the rich truffle aroma. I think it was the best truffle dish of the night.
pomegranate and mandarine orange granite. Very refreshing and a perfect ending to a truffle dinner.
I had also ordered a chestnut and persimmon monte bianco. The hostess noted that I didn't much care for it and removed the dessert from the table and from the tab. This was yet another example of how gracious the service at Oliveto has been for me.
All things considering, I spent more money on wine than I did on the shaved truffles. I'd say the truffle dinner at Oliveto was not only "worth it" but a very good deal at that.
re: Robert Lauriston
The truffle was excellent, great smell and that earthy good taste.
My bf was very happy with the Pigeon and I was happy with the Monkfish.. Although I could of had a bowl of the pasta with the shaved truffles, a big spoon and sat in the corner somewhere, I am still thinking about it.