My best friend recently moved back to Boston from San Francisco, and I knew she would be one of the few people who would splurge with me on a food based activity. It’s ok to spend almost $100 on a meal if it’s justified by a special occasion. So… Merry Christmas to us!
I’ve always wanted to try a Chef’s Tasting menu of some kind, and when I heard No. 9 Park had a Pasta Tasting menu I knew this would be perfect for us. What’s also perfect is that one of our oldest and best friends happens to be one of the sous chefs at No. 9, and each sous chef gets his/her turn at preparing these pasta dishes.
The descriptions below are details I received directly from the No. 9 kitchen, courtesy of my dear friend Chef Benno. The menu typically comes with 6 courses including the dessert. There is an option for an additional course (served as course 4), which we had the pleasure of being served.
Don’t ask me to choose a favorite course, because it’s nearly impossible! However if I must narrow it down my top 3 are: Bigoli with crab, Cappellacci, and the prune-filled Gnocchi.
Octopus Salad: smoked ricotta, braised celery, bottarga
Spanish and baby octopus are braised in red wine, olive oil and aromatics. The baby are left whole and the Spanish are cut into segments. They are warmed to order in the braising liquid with some boiled fingerling potato coins and celery rib diamonds that have been peeled and braised in vegetable stock, white wine and lemon juice. This sits on top of whipped and smoked ricotta that has been seasoned with black pepper. Garnishing the plate are pickled cippolini onions, toasted pinenuts, and grated bottarga.
Bigoli di Nasturzio: peekytoe crab, tangerine butter, toasted breadcrumbs
No. 9’s standard pasta dough (flour, semolina, eggs) is seasoned with a puree of Nasturtium and rolled into bigoli. The pasta is tossed with peekytoe crab and a butter sauce seasoned with white wine and tangerine juice. Breadcrumbs toasted with the zest of the tangerine finish the plate.
Plaesentif di Viole Cappellacci: bacon confit, chantennay carrot, aged balsamic
No. 9’s standard pasta dough (flour, semolina, eggs) is rolled out and filled with plaesentif di viole, a cow’s milk cheese from northern Italy. Chantennay carrots are roasted along with bacon confit. A pan sauce is made with a little butter, jus and aged balsamic. The plate is topped with fried sage and pecorino.
Prune-Stuffed Gnocchi: foie gras, almonds, vin santo (supplemental course)
This is a No. 9 Park house signature dish. It’s a standard gnocchi dough filled with prunes cooked down in vin santo. The sauce is made from foie gras and butter. It’s topped with slivered almonds, diced prunes and seared foie gras.
Carnaroli Risotto: swiss chard, currant pecan vin, ricotta salata
Carnaroli rice is cooked risotto style and finished with braised and ground swiss chard as well as lemon whip. Topping the rice are pecans and currants dressed in EVOO and sherry vin. Ricotta Salata to finish.
Duet of Beef: beef sausage, hen of the woods mushroom, cocoa short rib raviolo
Beef short ribs are braised in red wine, pulled apart and the meat is glazed with jus seasoned with cocoa. This is used as a filling for a raviolo that sits with roasted hen of the woods mushrooms and beef sausage seasoned with pork fat parsley, white onion, and chili. Quince mostarda finishes the plate: quince, white onion, white wine, sugar, dijon and whole grain mustard.
Apple Bread Pudding: honey crisp apples, calvados caramel, mascarpone glace
Bread pudding is made from apples cooked out in calvados, brioche, eggs, cream, sugar and cookie spices. It sits on a caramel sauce made with reduced calvados. Mascarpone glace finishes the plate.