Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Do The Black Truffle Shuffle All Winter

Winter black truffles imported from Provence, France, for Rare Tea Cellar. (Photo: Rodrick Markus/Rare Tea Cellar)

I became obsessed with black truffles this season after my first trip to Kith & Kin when exec chef Andrew Brochu shaved some onto several of our dishes, including a creamy, handmade pasta.

After that experience, my mouth watered for more and more and more, so you could imagine my delight when I found out Perennial's Ryan Poli had plans to do a Black Truffle Tasting Menu.

Through February, the exec chef of the popular Lincoln Park resto offers a budget-friendly feast of dishes that creatively showcases the truffle in all its glory. For $58, you get four courses and for an additional fee you can pair them with vino.

Black truffle tasting fish course at Perennial. (Photo: Ryan Poli/Perennial)

Though it's a tasting, it was pretty filling, but we did want seconds on the roasted chestnut and black truffle soup topped with crème fraiche that came out first. Next to arrive was a celery root tortellini paired with sliced apples and topped off with black truffle broth. A nicely seared striped bass was next, and it was beautifully accompanied by caramelized cauliflower and Brussels sprouts leaves in a black truffle puree.

And finally dessert was what he calls The Truffle Shuffle, four bite-size sweets lined up on a tiny plate. The stars of this little indulgent scene were definitely the Anjou pear drizzled with Yuzu gelee, black pepper and truffle as well as the white chocolate ganache bursting with a white chocolate and raspberry filling. The menu's available through February.

Additional restaurants offering winter black truffles on the menu:

Blackbird: Pastry Chef Patrick Fahy just put quite the combination on the dessert menu. It'll be interesting to see if diners warm up to the Romage Blanc Panna Cotta with thyme, black truffle and red wine quince sorbet.

Elate: The River North restaurant's offering a $65 four-course NYE menu that includes a parsnip bisque with Perigord black truffles with potato crisps and chervil.

Rockit Wrigleyville's Mushroom Flatbread Pizza with gruyere cheese, thyme and truffle crème fraiche. (Photo: Rockit Ranch Productions)

graham elliot: Until it's exhausted, the black truffles here will be grated over a Wagyu beef dish. They're also planning to incorporate them into a wild mushroom risotto for New Year's Eve, which is $125 per person.

North Pond: Look for black truffles also on the NYE menu at North Pond. Look for a truffled celeriac-potato ravioli that comes with black trumpet mushrooms, apples and a quail egg in a mushroom broth. The dinner is $120 for multiple courses.

Rockit Bar & Grill: They've got one of those secret things going on at the upscale sports bar. Just ask your server if they have the black truffle pate or shaved truffles and you just might get it. Also, head up to Rockit Wrigleyville for the mushroom flatbread pizza with gruyere cheese, thyme and truffle crème fraiche.

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