Cocktails and Fun Starters
Cocktails: We started out with the Tentare Feito (which the menu describes as Bourbon, Orange, Lemon, Basil, Campari Marshmellow), along with a specialty cocktail for the evening that the waiter talked me into. Mixologist Steve Oshana named it the "Funky Cold Medina," after the Tone Loc hit. It involved Plymouth Gin, Poma, Prosecco and lemon juice. It was delicious, and I'm not usually a fan of gin. The drinks only got better from there as Elisir's Sommelier Justin Kraemer's selections for each course put our meal over the top.
Fun Starters: we got a few little treats that were so unexpected I forgot to take pictures! The first was a Squash Soup that had an amaretti cookie in it and a foamed finish. It was multi-faceted and delicious. I wish I had written down the description! We also had an olive paste filled Chocolate Lollipop dipped in salt and gold flakes.
At our waiter's suggestion, we also ordered the Olive Oil and Infused Sea Salt Tasting which involved specialty olive oils from Liguria, Tuscany and Sicily paired with house infused black olive, chianti and basil infused sea salts (respectively). A great twist on the traditional olive oil and bread that we're all used to at Italian restaurants.
Elisir features two Tasting Menus but also allows diners to order A la Carte. We chose the A la Carte option.
Antipasto: Carpaccio di Branzino Affumicato nella Scatola del Sigaro al Tavolo Four minute apple wood smoked branzino carpaccio served in a cigar box with citrus dressing, scallions, shaved mushrooms, pea tendrils, roasted garlic chips and blood oranges.
Wine pairing: Graham Beck Brut Rose' South Africa
This dish not only had a great presentation, but the flavors were incredible. The saltiness of the branzino and garlic chips was balanced perfectly by the sweetness of the blood oranges and citrus dressing. We couldn't have asked for a better wine pairing, and this comes from someone who doesn't usually drink Rose' or much of anything sparkling!
Primo: Fazzoletti di Nero e Zafferano ala Ragu di Aragosta -
Square black squid ink and saffron pasta sheets with a ragu of Maine lobster and cherry tomato confit, micro
oregano, basil and extra virgin olive oil.
Wine Pairing:Valpolicella Bussola Classico Superiore 2007
What a masterpiece, or capolavoro, I should say! Two of my favorite foods together - lobster and pasta, I have been disappointed too many times with what I've always thought couldn't be wrong together. This dish was just the opposite. Again, a great wine choice - I hate to break it to all you I-have-to-drink-white-with-fish/seafood. That simply is not the case, and you're missing out if you continue to follow such a silly rule.
Secondi: Petto d'Anatra al Sale con Salsa di Olive Nere e Carciofi Arrosto - seared salt cured breast of Hudson Valley moularde duck, Ligurian black olive sauce, roasted artichoke quarters, spinach whipped potatoes and caramelized quince ragu with roasted cocoa nibs.
Wine Pairing: Super Tuscan Aia Vecchia Lagone IGT 2008
I love duck and order it fairly often including times when I've been in Italia. This duck breast was prepared to perfection and went extremely well with the black olive sauce. The spinach potatoes and artichokes were unique while staying true to authentic Italian ingredients. The Aia Vecchia is a wine I will definitely look to purchase. Super Tuscans are quickly becoming my new favorite red wine variety.
Filetto di Vitello e Animelle Arrosto - Roasted veal filet and pan seared veal sweetbreads in a creamy orange/mascarpone cheese sauce with cipollini onions and sautéed mushrooms.
Wine Pairing: Barolo - Damilano Lecinquevigne Piedmont 2005
CiaoDC's dining partner ordered this combination of veal and Barolo and could not have been more pleased. Veal is one of his favorites, and he hasn't really stopped talking about the Barolo since.
Although we couldn't find room for dolci, Chef Enzo treated us to a few little chocolates and even came out to greet us at the end of the meal! It was a gran piacere to meet him, especially because he was as gracious as he is talented.
CiaoDC strongly recommends that you dine at Elisir soon!