Sunday, January 9, 2011

Lunch at Il Falchetto

Going in to Perugia recently (as will be detailed tomorrow), I wasn’t optimistic. But one of the best ways, I’ve found, to turn around your feelings about a city or town is to have a good meal there (maybe I think too much with my stomach, but good food tends to make me feel better about most things). Before leaving, with this in mind, I did a little restaurant research and decided that we should try to have lunch at Il Falchetto, which was the top restaurant in the New York Times Perugia restaurant guide (and yeah, I was surprised about that being around, too). And Il Falchetto, or the Falcon (by the way, doesn’t the fact that it’s named “the falcon” automatically make it worth at least trying? I’ve always wanted a falcon, and am a fan of the Falcon), treated us very well, almost 100% well, and ended up being ideal for a chilly day lunch. The biggest stars, I think, were the first courses. I started with Parmigiana di Gobbi, which was like a warm, comforting, cheese-rific, casserole. Casseroles have a spot of their own in my food heart, due to growing up in the casserole decade (the 70s) and developing a fondness for gooey-cheesy-hot dishes, and this one hit the mark with an added bonus: thistle (the “Gobbi” in the title). I’m not sure I ever had thistle before, but it was chewy and green and added extra texture (you can’t see it in this pic):
Nat’s starter may have been even better (and she was nice enough to share): Carmella di Sfoglia ai Porcini, or puff pastry topped with a porcini cream sauce. The puff pastry stayed crisp on the edges, as a counterpoint to the creamy, mushroomy, sauce, and the sauce was so smooth, and with so much flavor, it made a great partner with the pastry:
For my main, I had (at the suggestion of the New York Times by golly) Falchetti Verdi. This was also quite good, but in ordering it and my starter I made a slight tactical error as the Falchetti was another casserole-style number. Luckily, the cold outside made a double helping of casserole comforts not completely out of hand. Also, the Falchetti was fairly different than the Parmigiana, being more tomato-sauced than cheesed-out, and featuring little melt-in-your-mouth spinach-ricotta gnocci:
The only, to us, misstep on the menu was Nat’s next course. And, it wasn’t a misstep, actually, but just somewhat weird to us. She had a risotto (she’s a risotto fanatic a bit--really, it’s starting to get worrisome) with truffles and red wine. It was one of those dishes you see on the menu and think “well, that’s either going to be completely awesome or completely weird” and feel compelled to order. This one fell on the weird side, as the wine (which can be, I think, tricky to cook with--too much quickly overwhelms) didn’t bring out or intermingle with the truffle’s earthiness but added an almost vinegar backend taste. Intriguing color, though:
We brought lunch back to the “scrumptious” side of the tally sheet with our dessert: Chicoria Ripresette (I may be spelling that last one wrong). Or, chicory spiced with chilis and oil. Sadly, my pic didn’t come out, but the chicory was fantastic, bitter, spicy, and bright green. My kind of dessert.

*See more Italian restaurants: Capponi, Nestor's,Nonna Gelsa, Le Capannine di Sommavilla, Calagrana, Trattoria Il Saraceno, L Enoteca Wine Club, Mastro Dante, Bar Fizz, Da Cesari, Calagrana Lunch, al Frantoio

*See all Italian restaurants

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