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Dec 27, 2006 12:03 AM

Venice's Maison de Laurent

There is an extremely intriguing 12 seat restaurant called Maison de Laurent in the Hotel Tripoli which is just a hundred meters or so behind San Marco Square. From the website( "Only 12 place-settings (reservation only) instead for Maison de Laurent, the new, sophisticated restaurant of Gianni and Lorenzo that offers a cuisine featuring the freshest ingredients of the season."

Walking by this on a recent Saturday evening it is a restaurant that demands someone to visit: brick walls with six two seat tables lit by candlelight and a menu that announces the sources for many of the ingredients in a particular dish:

"Risotto with aromatic herbs from S. Erasmo island is a reduced fish broth." (28 Euros
)"Risotto with sausage estense (Ferrari) with a touch of rosemary and cinnamon." (28 Euros)
"Natural cream of cicerchie (a variety of chickpea) and fave beans with a delicious and sweet flavour, wild chicory, anchovies, pine nuts and ... from Lipari Island." (20 Euros)
"Homemade pasta of Campofilone (Marche) with a ragout of meat or fish." (24 Euros)
"Wild Gilt Head (or octopus) with steamed vegetables and a sauce of mustard seeds, extra vergin olive oil from Osvaldo, lenno. Como lake. (38 Euros)
"Grilled rob of lamb from Normandy rolled on Breton salt, served with a cream of potatoes, leeks and sauteed red peppers." (38 Euros)
"Grilled goose breast served with foie gras, stark apple sliced and potatoes pur with acacia honey and balsamic vinegar of Modena sauce." (40 Euros)
"Braised cheek of beef in cinnamon and cloves sauce with masked potatoes." (30 Euros)
"Our interpretation of tiramisu" (18 Euros)

The above is the COMPLETE menu.

We passed this up for Alle Testiere although, to be honest, we were so intrigued by its appearance and the short, eccentric menu that we agreed it will be a primary destination on our next visit to Venice. There is NOTHING about it on the internet, whether Google or from Chowhound or eGullet.

Has anyone been? It looks and feels like a real "find."

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  1. Its the Hotel Tiepolo. Not heard of it or the restaurant before, it appears to be a new hotel.
    Their other restaurant Aciugheta is a longstanding and respected bacaro.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jen kalb

      Laurent is only marginally related to Aciugheta. The chef/owner Laurent earned a Michelin star somewhere in Provence. We ate there twice recently. As you might expect from someone with that background, the food is very refined and a nice break from the other Venetian high-end places. The best thing to do is let them bring out whatever they feel like making. They won't tell you in advance, but give you the opportnity to tell them if you have any allergies, etc.

      It is also very expensive. Don't go unless you're prepared to spend 300+ Euros for two.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. Jen, there is a winebar diagonally across from Maison de Laurent (a FUNNY name for a tiny restaurant in Venice!). I sat there several weeks ago sipping on a glass of wine while waiting for my reservation at Alle Testiere which is about 100 meters away. I was a bit early and Laurent had not opened yet. Still, the tiny, candlelit dining room was absolutely intriguing. Personal, intimate, VERY atmospheric with brick, stone and a handful of softly lit tables. There must be someone on here who has been there! At the least I will be back on business in March and will go by myself. Along with the Met there may be two NEW exciting restaurants to explore in Venice.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Joe H

          a writeup of aciugeta
          have you bought the Venice Eateries book yet?

          Looking forwar to your March report.

        2. I stumbled upon your remarks after receiving an email back from Gianni B, wife of Lorenzo. My husband and I had the MOST amazing meals (tho quite $$$$, as mentioned) at Maison de Laurent when he had just opened last year. He actually prepared a special lunch for us (generally closed) before we left to return to the US. I am in the food business so we had had delightful conversation re his background and coming to Venice. I can tell you it was the gastronomic high point of our trip and can't wait to go back. The menu is stunning but it is better to just let him "play" with what he has and you are sure to be delighted-my moutn is watering now with the memory of great taste!

          1 Reply
          1. re: LindaSample

            Since I wrote this over two years ago the name of the restaurant and the chef has changed; it is now called Il Ridotto and instead of a total of twelve seats it has "shrunk" to ten. I also understand that the chef (who has now been there for over one year) personally serves you. It seems a remarkably intimate, romantic and private restaurant, even special for Venus. Has anyone been? My wife and I are going the second week of March.