Can a fungus be…seductive? Apparently so, according to Chef José Andres, which explains why he and other top restaurateurs are getting creative this truffle season with dedicated tasting menus and special dishes highlighting black and white versions of the decadent ingredient.
“Truffles are so sexy and astonishing,” says Andres. “A little truffle can go a long way to really elevate a dish. They have an amazing rich taste and aroma that captures all your senses.” Proving his point, Andres is presenting his annual White Truffle Dinner series at SAAM, his private tasting room at The Bazaar in Los Angeles. For $325, the 16-course dinner starring truffles foraged in Abruzzo, Italy by the expert “Truffle Brothers” Michael and Marco Pietroiacovom includes “chicken skin,” with cured chicken, black garlic and white truffles, and “white on white,” featuring white truffles with white chocolate cremes.
But have no fear, East Coasters. There are plenty of truffles to go around. Over at New York’s Lincoln Ristorante (pictured above), Chef Jonathan Benno is ramping up the restaurant’s $80, five-course Menu Degustazione Piemontese with a truffle supplement at $32 per course. “We’re elevating the natural earthy flavor of the truffle at the height of the season,” says Benno. “Here, we serve them over rich, yet delicate dishes such as gnocchi with fonduta that act as a canvas for the white truffles—they are the star of the show.”
At Daniel Boulud’s newly renovated DB Bistro, Chef Jim Burke is offering black truffles, once they arrive, via a five-course $145 menu featuring sunchoke soup, fois gras and black truffle torchon and roasted squab. Also, the restaurant’s famously decadent DB burger gets a “royale” treatment (for $70-140), with the addition of Perigord black truffle and a truffle dressing alongside the classic ingredients: sirloin, red wine-braised short ribs and foie gras.
BLT Prime (pictured above) is showcasing the fungus by offering a $200 prix fixe with black sea bass en papillote with local cauliflower and young leeks and fried ice cream truffles with dulce de leche. We repeat: fried ice cream truffles.
If a rich truffle dinner sounds like too much of a good thing, there are special lunchtime menus, too. Over at Babbo (pictured above), Mario Batali is serving up a $99 prix fixe menu featuring duck egg sunny-side up with guanciale, fett’unta and white truffles, agnolotti with brown butter and white truffles and a grilled veal breast with arugula, parmigiano and white truffles.
Not every restaurant can execute a full-on truffle extravaganza, but these individual dishes are equally as enticing. A few of our favorites:
- White truffle potato gnocchi at Quality Meats
- Scallop degustation dish with truffles, cauliflower and lardo at Clement at the Peninsula
- Scrambled egg with comté foam and shaved black truffles at Bouley
- Shimeji mushroom chawan-mushi egg custard with truffle ankake sauce and Provence black truffle at Brushstroke
- White truffle farro verde at Park Avenue Autumn
- Egg tagliolini with basil truffle pesto, ricotta salata and black Norcia truffles at East 12th Osteria