Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Don Alfonso 1890 - Reloaded

Chef Ernesto Iaccarino
A couple of weeks ago, I found myself seated at one of my favorite tables in the world.  The one next to the window, with the perfect lighting, with a clear view of the kitchen, of Chef Ernesto Iaccarino and the staff of Don Alfonso 1890.  I decided to have an end of season lunch and chat with the entire team before they head off to various places around the globe before reopening next spring.
After a sip or two of spumante, I glanced over the menu.  Many items I recognized and instantly I got a feeling of nostalgia.  Several had special memories for me for various reasons so I thought that it would be neat to try them again...My version of a Don Alfonso 1890 - Reloaded...

I reloaded a few dishes from my visit back in the spring of 2011.  Has it really been that long?  Deep fried lobster with a sweet and sour sauce, a dip of citrus fruit, and a julienne of spring vegetables. It was just as I remembered...no, the batter was much lighter, letting the lobster take center stage....

Then there was, what I described back then asmoked Mediterranean yellow tail. The light pink color of the fish enjoyed its contrast with the colors of the sauces on the side; wild orange, and a fennel seed and grapefruit mayonnaise

Trying it again, it brought back old memories, new sensations...new memories...

Then I reloaded a favorite from the spring of  2012.  One that I wrote about here and here...
Tre baci-three kisses from the chef...
Back then I described it in this manner... A pasta dish that wasn't pasta, but thinly sliced squid stuffed with fresh fish.  A sprinkling of curry...a bed of basil.

This time I noticed the same smooth squid 'pasta', less spices, but power packed with clams instead of fresh fish.  A testimony to the chef's desire to use what is fresh and available that day, that moment.

But my visit was also a chance to try somethings that I haven't tried before...such as
an arancini appetizer, a fried rice ball  with clams, mussels and a bottarga sauce...


pumpkin gnocchetto with truffles, fried leeks, and sausage...

Pasta?  I skipped on the spaghetti, though it was tempting, and tried this dish.  Paccheri di Gragnano pasta cacio and pepe style...

Also a flavorful tomato soup with marinated palamita, capers and green olives.  New to me, but the 20103 a re visitation of a Don Alfonso 1890 dish...

Did I mention the wines?  No reloaded here, since sommelier Maurizio Cerio is very attentive in educating me on the wines and spirits of the world...
For my appetizers... Derbusco Cives Franciacorta Brut 2007


My lunch... La Creatura 2003, Andi Fausto  


My desserts...Single Malt Whisey Caperdonich 1966

Desserts...the usual splendid array of piccoli pastries...starring a pink and green macaroon that made me smile...

Pink and green....like the dining room's interior.  A piccolo reminder of a special afternoon spent at Don Alfonso 1890.  An afternoon reloaded...

Ci vediamo nella primavera I told theChef Iaccarino as  I left.  I was already curios about what would come out of the kitchen next March.  What influences he would pick up from his time in Dubai as Don Alfonso 1890 opens up yet another restaurant?
We'll just have to wait...



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