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WOW Truffle Night at Grotto (w/pics)

When I heard about Grotto's 7-course truffle dinner, both black and white, with wine for $100 per person, I thought it was a fantastic value. Well, that was an understatement, and I think you'll know what I mean when I post the menu.

I've been a huge fan of Grotto ever since Limster discovered this wonderful restaurant and posted about it on CH years ago, and once again what a fantastic time we all had. We had a lively group of six and we were all looking forward to the night. Affable Grotto chef Scott Herritt enthusiastically got the evening started as he told the room the lengths he went to to get these truffles for us, working hard with his contacts to finally procure the elusive white truffle. Due to weather conditions, it's been more difficult than usual, and as mentioned in Grotto's newsletter earlier this week "The weather has slowed the truffle maturing process, but the persistent Grotto has acquired the culinary jewel---just a few short hours ago a batch of excellent quality truffles arrived.": In fact, Grotto is the only restaurant in Boston to have had white Alba truffles on the menu last night. Lucky us!

The wines (all from Piedmont) were chosen by George Schwartz, who is the Northeast regional director of sales for Vias Wine Importers. Not only was he friendly, knowledgeable and engaging, but we all really enjoyed the wines he had chosen. He mentioned that Scott and he worked hard on these pairings and it showed. Also, I appreciated it that each table was given an informative packet with a map of Italy and Italian producers, and a full page on each wine with information on the vineyard, soil, aging process, production, tasting notes, etc.

Onto the food - the amazing dishes are pretty self-explanatory, and 9Lives' pics will follow (I'll let the CHs with more wine expertise comment on the pairings):

Sushi grade tuna with shaved truffles, black-truffle horseradish aioli, pomegranate seeds, and micro-greens

Garlic and black truffle soup, truffle froth, and garlic bread crumbs

Frisee salad with poached egg, pork belly, pork glaze, shaved truffles, and truffle vinaigrette

Duck and black truffle meatball with dried cherry-Barbera gastrique, and foie gras ravioli

Ricotta and truffle gnocchitini, truffle crema, fresh shaved Alba white truffles, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and mushroom reduction

Pan-roasted beef tenderloin with Barbaresco Bordelaise, white asparagus, truffle butter-poached lobster, and black truffle zabaglione.

All this was finished off with three decadent chocolate truffles and a glass of sparkling Brachetto D'Aqui.

I also have to mention the gougeres, and delicious warm bread served at the start of the meal. Service was just excellent, even on such a busy night with one seating. Everybody was friendly, patient, and the courses were timed and run so smoothly, it really contributed to enjoying the meal.

I thought all the dishes were wonderful, but some swoon-worthy standouts for me were the duck meatball and foie gras ravioli (with a 2004 Elvio Cogno Barbera d'Alba), the amazing white truffle gnocchitini with truffle crema, and the melting tender beef tenderloin with perfectly-cooked buttery lobster. I know E mentioned more than once that the garlic and black truffle soup (served with a 2005 Cogno Anas-Cetta Langhe Bianco) was "the best soup I've ever had", and that he'd be back for many of the dishes, even without truffles.

Simply a fantastic evening, and just another reminder of why I love Grotto - a friendly staff, wonderful food, and a passionate chef.

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  1. Link to Places:

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    Grotto
    37 Bowdoin Street, Boston, MA 02114

    1. Sounds great, sorry to have not known about this in advance.

      Are these events announced in advance if you sign up for their e-mail list online?

      Looking forward to the pics.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Gabatta

        Oh, that's too bad - I had posted about it earlier this week, and they still had openings....

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/45113...

        You can sign up to a mailing list on their website, though I first read about this event on Bostonchefs.com.

        1. re: Rubee

          I got an e-mail about it from being on their mailing list.

      2. Great writeup, Rubee. As one of the lucky six I have to agree: it was an amazing value on an amazing meal. I practically waddled out the door.

        The wine pairings were terrific and I think I learned a bit about the Piedmont wine country (if only I can retain it.)

        The most amazing thing was that the staff was able to feed this full restaurant each course simultaneously without a mis-step of any sort. Both the wait staff and the kitchen staff deserve a round of applause. It had been a while since I visited Grotto, but I am determined to get there again soon.

        And I think I actually did swoon when I tasted that ravioli. Everything stopped for a moment...

          1. re: 9lives

            I got the e-mail but couldn't get there last night. Did he mention if truffles will be available for a la carte dishes?

            1. re: trufflehound

              You should check with them. I almost couldn't make the dinner and they were unsure as to how much more they'd have and couldn't promise any for the future.

              Last year, with a phone call to prearrange, they did a great pasta/truffle for lunch.

          2. Thank you so much for the wonderful report and pictures!!! We were scheduled for the first date and had to cancel Thursdays res, which I did early to open it up to anyone waiting in the wings.

            Today I called to see if they were doing any truffle specials with the hopeful leftovers.

            We enjoyed the tuna and the duck meatball as apps. Both done the same as described, although much less generous with the truffle shavings. Both were outstanding. I am so used to tuna with a panasian flavouring and really enjoyed this preperations. And that meatball and rav - so rich, so full of flavour.

            They also offered the gnoccitini as an entree for $40 in which I would bet they were generous with the shavings. But we passed on that for tonight.

            Intrigued by the egg salad, the picture looks decadent. And the lobster? How did it fare with truffle butter?

            Hoping they are able to score some more later in the season for another event dinner!

            On a side not, I was at Formaggio today/southend. Inquired if they ever get truffles, which they rarely do. But "the cheese guy" shared with me that the best truffles arrive in early november....so the season hasn't even started yet!

            Again thanks for all the details. Wish they had those gougers and rolls I saw in the pics. Never a fan of their house bread.

            4 Replies
            1. re: gyppielou

              I remember seeing white truffles for sale at savenor's on Charles street.

              1. re: gyppielou

                Savenor's didn't have truffles today...maybe next week.

                My favorite were the gnocchi, egg/ pork belly, duck meatball, garlic soup..in no particular order..cept the truffle flavor was stongest in the gnocchitini and soup. When the soup came out, the whole room just took on this intense truffle/garlic aroma.(none of us wore perfume..:))

                $100 for that amount/quality of food and wine was a great value..and a good time.

                I liked the tuna; but I've eaten a lot of tuna this summer. The beef and lobster; I love both ingredients..but generally not as a surf and turf. My beef was done properly rare; but the sauce was somewhat out of balance..thought it was probably the weakest dish.

                1. re: 9lives

                  Woops, I meant I saw them there last year. Sorry for the confusion.

                  1. re: 9lives

                    I've seen white truffles at Salumeria Italiana, but not until November.

                2. I dont think that Grotto is the "only restaurant in boston that has alba white truffles right now" in fact i had alba truffles from lespalier two nights ago (40 dollar supplement for two slices) but i think the chef was not totally truthful you can get them from brown trading company right now if you want to pay $$$$ for them

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ciaohoundboston

                    Actually, he said on a truffle menu that particular night - I was unclear ("Grotto is the only restaurant in Boston to have had white Alba truffles on the menu last night"), but he did mention that one other restaurant in Boston was able to get some (one?). I should have known it's L'Espalier. I can't wait until November when we'll see more on the menus around town. How was the prep at L'Espalier?

                    I'm amazed that Grotto served every person at a full restaurant that dish with white truffles, for the price of that tasting menu, as a $40 supplement sounds about right....

                    Any favorites for white truffles in Boston?. My top three are dishes from Prezza, No 9 Park, and Troquet, but always looking for more recs and specific dishes. I better start saving up for November!