Thursday, May 10, 2012

Saturday Lunch - Don Alfonso 1890 - Sant'Agata Sui Due Golfi (Na)

After a month full of decision making, the only decision I wanted to make last Saturday was what to wear.  Well, that was a simple -  short sleeve t shirt full of pink and white flowers.  It was a decsion I made to put me in the mood for lunch at Don Alfonso 1890 in  Sant’Agata  Sui Due Golfo near Sorrento. I wanted to know how things were going, what was up since my last visit, but most of all I wanted to relax-be decision making free for a few hours.  I  knew I would be in good hands.  The staff in the sala, headed by Mario Iaccarino took me to my seat-one they knew I would appreciate. My spot next to the window for the perfect lighting and with a great view of the kitchen where I could see Chef Ernesto Iaccarino and his team in action.  
How have you been?  We haven’t seen each other since September, Chef  Iaccarino says as he welcomes me  into the kitchen. Had it been that long?  I guess we have a lot of catching up to do… A quick chit chat then Ernesto was back to work.  I came to try the new menu and I was curious to try what the chef had decided for me. He and his staff were in full swing. Don Alfonso’s colorful kitchen is always full of activity,  full throttle with Ernesto and his team cooking... tasting ....preparing ...plating…

Professional Sommelier Maurizio Cerio and I briefly briefly discussed the wine list. I asked Cerio to decide for me that day.  He suggested we try a few wines-outside of Campania, though…he added, knowing my tendency to stick with what I know and knowing that as a neo-sommelier, I needed to taste, taste,  taste.  So a glass of Franciacorta Cuvee Prestige from Ca’ Del Bosco would begin my relaxing lunch at Don Alfonso.  A colorful fragrant glass of sparkling wine was paired with the appetizers Iaccarino sent out for me to try. Quattro antipasti chosen for me.  

veal snout with mustard sauce and lemon -2012 creation

shrimp and strawberry millefoglie with a fava bean sauce-2012 creation

mussels 'impetata'-revisitation 
Three rows of mussels, of cozze.  Each row with their own crunchy topping, parsley, garlic, and red pepper/paprica.  On the side, a broth so I could dip and sip...
eel ice cream and Oscetra caviar with rose tagliatella , a vegetable  sauce and organic egg yolk - 2011
Ice cream for an appetizer?  Ok, but eel?  Why not?  New to me with a cool saltiness that was refreshing as the sea.

The first courses were ready, and so was I.  Wine-already decided…Cervario della Sala 2009 AntinoriElegant, but with great structure, Cerio told me. So let’s see how it would hold up to the first courses-the pimi piatti. 

tasty morsels of ricotta cheese in a gurnard fish consomme' with an infusion of verbena , lemon zest and nettle - vintage

baci-with curry and basil - 2012 creation
One, two, three baci, three kisses.  A pasta dish that wasn't pasta, but thinly sliced squid stuffed with fresh fish.  A sprinkling of curry...a bed of basil.

Secondo piatti…second course.  Wine-already decided.  One that would go well with both dishes that Iaccarino had decide for me.  Arzadu Barbera 2004 Azienda Agricola Cebrelli 1887

tuna with pistachio nuts and spinach, soy sauce and green pepper sauce- 2012 creation

suckling pig 3 ways - sweet and sour, spicy, and  neapolitan ragu - 2012 creation

A plate of pork.  Once again, three here is the magic number. The first  - crunchy, salty, then soft tender pork bathed in soy sauce.  Second - that crunch again.  This time spicy...very spicy.  Inspired by the chef's love for spices from the Orient, in this particular case, Thailand.  Then once again, tender flavorful pork.  The last - ragu.  A classic comfortable bite of home.

Time for  pre-dessert and my pre-dessert drink….a lemon sorbet with lemons straight from nearby  Punta Campanella.  Maurizio decided that I should finish off my meal in style with a glass of rum ditilled in 1989, bottled in 2004 and has been resting in Don Alfonso's cantina ever since.  

This would be perfect for what was about to come...  

Iaccarino gave me a full chocolate immersion from which there was no escape…

mini chocolate cake, ice cream and mousse with  soft 'morbidezza' di rucola

Lunch was over, and time for me to make a few decisions of my own.  I decided to have a caffè with the chef and discuss the menu, the recipes, the spicy spicy pork.  I decided to speak with Mario Iaccarino about how the importance that Don Alfonso gives to customer service makes this, in my little opinion, one of the best places on earth to relax. 

I still have one decision left…on my next visit, should I have lunch inside or in their garden by the pool?

Don Alfonso 1890
Corso Sant'Agata, 11/13
80064 Sant'Agata Sui Due Golfi (Na)
0039 081 878 0026

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