Olvieto Whole Hog 2008
Anybody go last night? Continues through Friday.
Yes. The Wild Boar Milanese was great (they do a wonderful job w/ this preparation regardless of the protein involved...I thought the hen was the star of the 2007 tomato dinner). I enjoyed the Choucroute (featuring the best hot dog aka frankfurter ever), and my olive hating hubby loved the pork belly despite the olives. This is probably the first time he has ever enjoyed green olives (Philistine!).
The lardo on the "Whole Cuts" platter was very special. I thought the hot coppa also had a nice funky flavor.
I had the tongue/artichoke/truffle starter, which I have a hard time passing up. My father's tripe fritto was less successful. Nothing wrong with it, but once fried the tripe could have been anything. We prefer the Trippa alla Romana they've done in the past. Of course if you've got someone who fears tripe, the fritto would be a good training wheels introduction. My hubby thought that the spaghetti with pork cracklings was the best spaghetti he's ever had.
We shared two desserts of bacon-y goodness. The apple cream and pancetta tart was very nice, but the quince budino with candied pancetta was really special. I need to figure out how to make candied pancetta...though the consequences would be dangerous.
Service was, as usual on the first night of a major event, somewhat overwhelmed. One wrong dish delivered and a looooong wait before the main course. Worth it regardless for the great food.
The Foxen Chenin Blanc available by the glass was a really pleasant surprise. Stood up shockingly well to the choucroute.
There was a lengthy thread on the Home Cooking board in December or so of 2006 about making bacon brittle (I made it, I loved it, I forced it upon many friends and family who loved it), so I would imagine that making candied pancetta may involve some of the same methods.
I'll be there Thursday night, thanks for the report!
Yes, had a late reservation last night. Overall the food was good and the service was wonderful, some of the best service I've had at Oliveto. We didn't feel at all rushed and were at our table for over two and a half hours for a two top, though this might have just been because they weren't seating anybody after us. The server was great at explaining everything on the menu and once we told him what we had eaten at the whole hog dinner last year, steered us towards some new things to try.
Had the tripe fritto to start, which was good, but as lexdevil said, it was hard to pick out the tripe flavor once it had been fried. But it was perfectly fried and the cardoons that were served with the tripe was delicious.
Had the spaghetti with pork cracklings and potato mezzalune with lardo as our pasta courses. The spaghetti was good and very porky, though the pasta itself I found a little heavy (the dish was cold by the time I got to try it), my boyfriend loved it though. The mezzalune was plain on its own, but really came alive with the lardo.
I had the zampone braised in saba. It was described as a boned out pig foot stuffed with sausage and braised, the leg essentially acted as a casing for the sausage. It was really tasty, but extremely rich. I found it hard to eat more than a few bites, and the servig they gave me was huge. I didn't get to try the other entree on the table, some sort of pork sausage with a fennel blood orange salad. My boyfried loved the sausage, but said the salad was really bland (though it didn't stop him from eating everything on his plate).
For dessert we had the apple cream and pancetta tart which was tasty. The pancetta flavor was not as strong as I hoped, but the tart itself was good. We also had the lard basted butternut squash strudel. Once again, it was tasty but the lard flavor didn't really come through all of the other spices that had been used on the butternut squash.
I think next year I might skip a main course and instead order a few more apps and pastas, which I find a lot more interesting. But overall the food and service were wonderful.
re: potato or yam
We had a similar experience with the zampone last year. Almost ordered it again this year, but decided it would be too rich. It's also very same-y...palette fatigue does set in before you reach the half-way point. It would be an excellent shared main course, if two people wanted to do more on the antipasti/pasta end of the menu. It says a lot that I ordered choucroute in order to have something lighter.
We have reservations for a big group on Saturday. (Curious that you said it ends on Friday, hmmmm?) My gf, who organized the thing, cooked at Oliveto for about 4 years. She's excited. I (the lapsed vegetarian) am fearing pork overload. Fortunately, in a big group, you can eat as much or as little as you want and no one notices.
I was there tonight, and overall, it was a great experience. I've read a number of complaints here about Oliveto's service, but the service was really warm and friendly, which I appreciated. We started with the Crostino of Preserved Pork Shoulder and pancetta with chanterelle mushrooms and the pork liver and pancetta with beets. The crostino was my favorite dish of the evening, I could have had only this and gone away thrilled. The pork liver dish was well done, but it made me realize that I don't really like liver, so I can't really discuss it in detail. We then shared the spaghetti with pork cracklings and Calabrian hot peppers, which was great, especially the hot peppers, and the pork belly with olives which was good, but the olives didn't really add anything to the dish (and I love olives in general). We also had the potatoes fried in pork renderings, and they were everything that fried potatoes should always be. We finished up with the apple cream and pancetta tart, which was delicious, though I wished the pancetta laid over the top was in slightly smaller pieces, it wasn't quite so easy to cut and eat, though the flavor was great.
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