Monday, May 20, 2013

L'oca D'oro Dinner

L'oca D'oro (the Golden Goose) is a private dining service that holds "Dinners to Rock," where each event is themed around a different musician, and the foods inspired by specific songs. They've covered a wide range of musical history, from Prince to the Clash to Radiohead. I attended this past week's Nina Simone event, held at Franklin BBQ, where L'oca D'oro Chef Fiore Tedesco works during the week.

We started with a lovely cocktail with rye and absinthe on Franklin's porch as they finalized things inside.
You wouldn't have known you were in a BBQ restaurant, with the lovely table settings and wine options. Nary a smoked brisket in sight!
The first course, a nest of delicately fried potatoes with zucchini, peach, basil, and dressed with a peach mostarda and a perfect egg on top. The contrast of flavors and textures was wonderful, and this may have been my favorite course. 
After which, came bread with three different types of butter -- with peaches, Double Devon Cream, and garlic. I love the Double Devon, having purchased it in the past (at Central Market); it's just a fabulous, fresh-tasting butter that's lightly salted. Great for good bread or your breakfast muffin; this is not butter to cook with, as you'd loose its nuances!
The second course, cuttlefish ink risotto, with charred cuttlefish, fresh porcini mushrooms, baby kale, golden beets, tomatoes, and topped with shaved truffle. The risotto was divine, and played nicely with the other ingredients, though I will say the truffle really didn't have much flavor, which was surprising.
The third course was a smoked pork tenderloin with fried green tomatoes, wheat berries and pickled blueberries. The pork was beautifully cooked, and while the breading on the tomatoes was a bit heavy on the salt (and I like my salt!), the tenderness of the pork, the crispness of the tomatoes, the squish of blueberries, and the softness of the lettuce really all complemented each other.
Dessert was a jasmine torte, poppy seed pudding, and a jasmine rice-smoked whipped cream. Unfortunately, this was the one course that wasn't quite on equal footing as the others. The cake was too dense, almost like cornbread, and the pudding had what seemed like a lot of stabilizer (agar, tapioca?) in it. 
I wished I had paid a little more attention to the music during the evening, but on the flip side, I enjoyed my dinner companions and conversations! Here's the menu, so you can see what songs inspired what dishes.
Apart from the dessert, my only other real issue with the event was the timing of the dishes; there was a lot of lag time (we were there a total of 3.5 hours). Otherwise, the plating of each dish was exquisite, the flavors were unusual combinations, and the service was spot on. It's $60/person, the first cocktail and gratuity included; they also offer the meal with wine pairings for $90, though other wines were available by the bottle or glass. Check their website or Facebook page for upcoming events, and see the flip side of Franklin BBQ. L'oca D'oro is sure to gain a steady following.