Via Luca Della Robbia, Torino, July 25, 2016—
ANOTHER RESTAURANT on the list provided by the chef at La Baritiera the other night, this was engaging, sophisticated, and downright comfortable. The moment I sat down I looked Barack Obama in the eye — he had an Americano in his hand, and was smiling, and I thought he was the kind of guy and this the kind of place that would be a perfectly natural fit. A comforting thought these days.
I wasn't all that hungry, having spent Happy Hour down the street with a huge platter of goodies to go with my Negroni. So I settled for —
But first, the amuse-guele: a marvelous version of baccala, thick (in fact gooey) and dusted with chili powder. Brilliant.
Next came, of course, crudo di fassone three ways, on a piece of cold black slate. The pure form is on the left; on the right is a looser texture. I asked the waiter if the difference was simply a question of the quantity of fat, and he said No, c'e un tipo di salsiccia: but it was clearly veal, not pork, and I didn't see anything susagelike about it…
Then plin d'ortiche e seirass, the Piemontese pinched ravioli, tiny and delicious, filled with nettles and the local version of ricotta, and full of umame, since this version is garnished with seaweed and combined with that baccala.
I wasn't going to have dessert, but how to resist Bavarese di finocchio, sorbetto della mela verde, sedano e biscotti di Refrancore? The Bavarian recalled the texture, but certainly not the taste, of the baccala opener; it was topped with a light green-apple sorbetto and garnished, as you see, improbably, with slender stalks of celery (it tasted like Sardinian celery, but must have been local) and a dusting of powdered biscotti. Again, brilliant.
Barbera Brezza, Casale Monferrato, 2014
Biodynamic and "natural" wines, more successful in the Barbera, I think, than the Grillo.
Ristorante Consorzio, Via Monte di Pista 23, Torino