Wistèria was started 4 years ago by Andrea Martin and Max Rossetti, business partners and friends since the 90s. Named for the wisteria that grows around the patio area, the restaurant focuses on products sourced from the Venice water and lands as well as the Adriatic Sea, all with environmental sustainability in mind. The restaurant was damaged by the high tide of Nov. 2019 and had to be closed for a month of repairs and then the Covid pandemic caused another shutdown after March 2020. In Nov. of 2021, their persistence paid off with the awarding of one Michelin star to the restaurant. The generous marble tables are well spaced and set with large white cloth napkins, throughout the several rooms of the place, Music is in the background, wood beams are overhead, lots of windows look outside, and a beautiful stone floor is below your feet. Chef Valerio Dallamano offers only a tasting menu of 6 or 8 courses with optional wine pairings. Service was outstanding with good portion control and pacing. We had planned to get the shorter menu but the server talked us into the longer one – it was a good choice but we ordered our own wine.
The table is set with breadsticks and crackers. Both are very nice.
The service started with some amuse bouche. Kombucha was served chilled in a test tube and slightly fruity. A ball of ‘crystal bread’ was topped with egg yolk and artichoke. It was a great thin crispy ball. The other round was a quail egg decorated with a slice of sardine. The yolk was ‘hard-boiled’ and went perfectly with the strip of salty fish. In the caviar tin was crispy onion, dashi gel, yuzu and of course caviar. The onion was a real star with taste and texture. This was a really good one.
The next round of amuse bouche included Bigoli (long extruded pasta) in a sauce of sardine and creamed onion (in the black pot) and matzo meatball with mustard and onion (on the stick), a beignet with a liquid inside and a wet cloth to wipe up afterward as these were to eat with your fingers (except the bigoli). The creamed onion dish was very mildly flavored. The meatball taste was dominated by the mustard yet good. The liquid in the beignet was quite tart.
A small loaf of sourdough bread came cut and was served warm. It was nicely chewy on the inside with a good thick, crisp crust. It was good.
Roots of Sant’Erasmo and sea buckthorn was the first course of the tasting. It contained a radish balsamic finish, beetroot, seeds, cream, citrus, and mandarin cream. The sea buckthorn was also creamed. The very good baby vegetables were a nice contrast to the creams and provided lots of crunch to the dish. The temperatures in the dish varied depending on what you were eating and that was an interesting effect.
Pink oyster and pomegranate were made with a bay oyster, Kefir lime cream, oyster leaf, and fermented pomegranate. The large wonderful oyster was good with the lime and sauce but not so good with wine. This was a nice dish.
Veal nerves and shrimp tartare were 2 different dishes that were best eaten together. The spinal/tendon meat was made into a sheet that topped the shrimp tartare mixed with onion, coriander and olive. Alongside was a crispy cracker dotted with bergamot gel. Both were good on their own but together enhanced each other.
A gift from the chef was spaghetti Pomodoro from Tuscany with tomatoes and baby basil leaves on top. It was excellent. The delicious pasta was a perfect al dente and the luscious tomato sauce with basil was wonderful.
Liquid ravioli Milanese style was filled with bone marrow on a white ragu of Oso Bucco. Some 42-year-old Grana Padano cheese topped them along with an alpine foam. The ravioli were filled with liquid marrow that was full of beefy flavor, as was the ragu below. The silky texture of the ragu was ‘lip-smacking’ good and obviously a result of long slow cooking. This was a divine dish of texture and flavor.
Ricotta cheese gnudi, tuber consommé and truffle was next. The ricotta-filled pasta was then topped with black truffle. Some caviar was mixed in with the broth. The truffles actually had lovely flavor and were perfect with the little clouds of cheese in the tender pasta. The broth tied it all together perfectly. Another wonderful dish.
Red mullet toast, coconut and ‘nduja made up the next plate along with some ginger gel, and beetroot sprouts. The ‘nduja was the ring filled with ginger gel and dotted with spicy oil. The crispy bread-like coating on the moist fish made it like a sandwich holding the lovely fillet with perfect seasonings. It was extra great when mixed with a little of the spicy ring on the side. Very delicious.
Capon, hazelnut and calamansi was the last savory dish. The capon was roasted with curry, topped with a meat demi-glace, and alongside a cake of foam. On an additional plate was a terrine made from the wings and a combination of white chocolate and liver in a panna cotta form. The bird on the main plate had ultra-crispy and delicious skin with a terrific sauce on the side. The white meat was drier than the dark but both were fine. From the other plate, the chocolate and liver combination was really great.
In a marrow bone container was some white chocolate topped with fermented thyme. It was foamy, creamy, sweet and smooth. A bit of banana was inside.
Some crumbles were plated with foam of pine and a granité of coffee topped with alpine liquid. This was really intense but a nice combination of textures. It was a caramel-like substance under the granité that contrasted nicely with the crumbles. The pudding next to it made it a fun dessert. We ordered a glass of spirits to go with dessert.
Finally a zabaione was served with a slice of Pandoro bread – typical to Venice. The richness of the sabayon-like cream was perfect to mix with the basically dry cake. This combination made the cake into something rich and divine. It was served to be eaten with a small spatula.