Il Ridotto is a small place with just two rooms, one having just 4 tables. Chef owner Gianni Bonaccorsi watches over all from the front counter and you will see the staff running across the walkway to another building where some of the supplies are kept. We were here before for lunch, several years ago, and while the interior feels unchanged chef doesn’t seem to be doing the cooking now. At dinner he offers 2 tasting menus, one of meat and the other seafood. There also is an a la carte menu and this evening a truffle menu too. The tables are set with lovely linens, Venetian glassware and modern comfortable chairs. I heard more Italian than English on this visit. The staff are friendly and helpful, but not overly so. We had the 5 course tasting of the land for which the chef makes the selection of your dishes except for dessert, which you get to choose.
This evening the amuse bouche was a combination of pumpkin, chicory, cheese and anchovy. The anchovy was an interesting blend with the tasty, sweet pumpkin, but the overall taste of the dish was mild.
Our tasting started with the langoustine and cauliflower puree. A very pretty presentation but again a mild flavor content.
The beef tartar was in two forms, one with parmesan and the other with truffle, which were bridged by a cascade of nuts and mustard. The nuts were a good mix and the truffles added some real flavor, enough that I wondered if the meat might have been seasoned with truffle oil too. The parmesan crisp was tasty but I’ve had much better. The mustard seemed an unusual addition for Italian cooking but it was good with the tartar whose meat texture was more ground than chopped.
The fish soup featured 2 pasta shapes, fish, shrimp, mussels, clams and squid rings. It was all garnished with a peeled grape tomato. The color of the broth made me keep expecting it to taste like pumpkin. The seafood was all cooked nicely but nothing was really special here. It could have benefitted from a salt shaker or some kind of seasoning.
The suckling pig was served with a bean purée which had taste but seemed wrong with the pork. The seasonings used gave the dish the essence of sausage rather than pure roast meat. It was dry, as to be expected for tenderloin and the vegetable medley felt like a pathetic attempt. My carrot slice had been carefully cut into a triangular shape and yet left a large portion of the green top in the cut. The vegetables had been barely cooked and the sauce lacked any richness. Again this dish needed some taste.
For dessert the ricotta cheese ice cream with pistachios had candied orange peel and cookie crumbles underneath. The cookies melted into the ice cream and sauce and was very good but was an unattractive plate. Just close your eyes and eat.
The mille-feuille was accented with pear purée, red wine sauce and preserved pear. Pear was also inside the layers of the dessert. It was tasty but I found the wine sauce to be too tart a contrast with the sweet and buttery pastry.
In Michelin style a tray of extra treats was served. Included were an out of season raspberry on an un-buttery crust which was not that good. A tandoori apple was nicely spicy and fairly tasty. The cream puff with a crispy sugary top had the cream of the mille-feuille inside and was actually pretty good.