Acquerello is a two star Michelin restaurant in a medium sized room that was an old church. The high ceiling is lined with beams etched in gold and the walls have no windows just modern art. Lighting is subdued with spots for each table. Floor length tablecloths and lots of flowers add to the elegant ambiance that still requires men to wear jackets. Attention to detail is obvious immediately when the hostess offers you a black napkin instead of having a white one on dark slacks. It opened in 1989 and the same co-owners are still running the place, Suzette Greshen is the chef and Giancarlo Paterlini is the front end manager. Service is exemplary and pacing is spot on. They offer two tasting menus as well as an a la carte menu. Wine pairings are available. A good mix of people filled the room with a number of special occasions being celebrated. We chose the seasonal Tasting Menu and ordered our own wines.
The menu starts with Chef’s Surprises for the Evening which began with orange juice mixed with vermouth which was nice and refreshing.
Panello (oil cake) with spring garlic was served warm. It was smooth with a bit of crisp on the outside yet the interior was custardy.
Lobster cake with powdered Italian spices was also warm. The spices added a bit of salt taste to the soft texture but it was hard to discern the various ingredients from one another.
Ricotta budino with peas, white chocolate and Marconi almonds was the first course on the menu. The peas were really fresh, almost raw, and very tasty. The almonds were crushed and blended in well. It was a mildly flavored dish but pleasant tasting and a good mix of textures.
Bread service included breads with olive or rosemary flavors and butter dusted with lava salt. A crisp crust worked nicely with the puffy interior. The olive choice seemed to be wheat based and was a subtle flavor.
Citrus cured lobster with Espelette pepper, radish and sour orange from Seville was a bit salty but that mixed well with the tart orange sauce. It simply burst with flavor and reminded me of ceviche. It had a hint of licquorice flavor created by the red onion blending with the orange sauce. It was very good but not great.
We substituted the Acquerello risotto for the monkfish liver terrrine which was being substituted with a striped bass with mussels course that evening. It remained perfectly al dente and featured Sofrito abalone. The abalone had a nice chewiness but overall I’d call it good not great.
Lamb filled spinach saccottini with pecorino Riserva and Piquillo mustard was quite nice. They looked like small little sacks of pasta. Small bits of fried sweetbreads and dabs of red pepper sauce rounded out a good presentation balance as well as providing a good amount of flavor.
Ridged pasta with foie gras, black truffle and Marsala were perfectly cooked pieces of pasta served with a thick sauce of foie gras. The truffles were more decorations than taste. This is a signature dish of the restaurant and it has always been on the menu and you can see why. The sauce is exquisite as is the pasta. It may look like a small portion but it is super rich.
A5 Wagyu beef with buckwheat and spiced crisp Elle, celery root and ginger is another divine dish. The Wagyu comes out sliced but nicely rare with a onion beef sauce. It is as you would expect, soft, tender and luscious meat. The buckwheat crepes are smeared with a mild cabbage spread. It is a good pairing for the rich meat. The celery root was tart. The meat is the star here.
Gorgonzola Piccante with walnuts and caramel was the cheese course. It came on a nice shortbread cookie. When all the ingredients here were combined it was excellent. It gave your mouth a little tingling sensation that was yum x3. Gorgonzola and caramel combined – it doesn’t get any better than this.
The palate refresher was Candied Mandarinquat, Moscato wine, pineapple and guava. The chewy sweet peel had an icy creamy center with cane sugar underneath. Good.
Dessert was Coconut mousse, Caraibe chocolate and Kona coffee. It was sweet and fun to eat. A good end to a really nice meal.
But then the dessert cart rolled over to temp you with additional fun sweets.
Lastly they sent you home with a box of housemade biscotti that were quite good. Put this place on your list if you’re in town.