There may not be much to dig about their appearance, but truffles’ savory, earthy flavor provides plenty of reasons to pig out. Case in point? Seasonal specialties, like mouth-watering roast chicken before a roaring fireplace, unique takes, such as gyoza with truffled ponzu, and even burgundy truffle ice cream. Find out which truffle dishes have us splurging this autumn.
Ai Fiori, New York, New York
It’s a mushroom cloud of activity at Ai Fiori, with a whole slew of events to celebrate the season. Executive chef Scott Schneider helps create menus for a seven-course wine pairing dinner November 10, while a truffle festival on the 11th includes dishes inspired by the Piedmont region with passed canapés, formaggi, battilardo crudo, carne, pasta, and risotto; tickets also include music and access to the Urbani Truffle Room, a global purveyor of fresh truffles and truffle products. Close out the weekend with a brunch with truffle-shaved omelets, crudo, a raw bar, and chilled lobster. Can’t make the events? No need to worry; truffle hollandaise benedicts and vellutata lobster soup with black truffles and tarragon feature on the regular brunch and lunch/dinner menus respectively. Make a reservation at Ai Fiori.
Prime Fish, Miami, Florida
Prime Fish’s concept may be “fish shack meets upscale dining,” but the latest appetizer veers toward the latter, with chi-chi deviled eggs filled with white truffle, lobster, and caviar. The new South Beach hotspot also serves a killer truffle Mac n’ Cheese. Make a reservation at Prime Fish.
Trattoria Il Mulino, Nashville, Tennessee
With a general manager hailing straight from Florence – Rinaldo Matai – it’s no surprise truffles make an appearance at one of Music City’s most popular Italian restaurants. It’s a true renaissance, indeed, for truffles here, which appear in the crowd-pleasing mac and cheese, the James Beard mushroom truffle burger, and delectable mushroom ravioli, with truffles shaved tableside. Make a reservation at Trattoria Il Mulino.
KYU, Miami, Florida
Truffles may yield primarily from Italy, but chef Michael Lewis gives them a distinctive Asian spin with his pork and shiitake gyoza served in truffled ponzu sauce. The gyoza, a Japanese variation on traditional Chinese dumplings, are made in-house with Cheshire pork shoulder, Japanese shiitake mushrooms, and house-smoked belly — and the truffle ponzu is also smoked in-house, aligning it with KYU’s wood-fired Asian concept. Make a reservation at KYU.
Tuscan Kitchen, Salem, New Hampshire
Need some motivation to get out mid-week? Look no further than Tuscan Kitchen, where, on Tuesdays during dinner service, truffle tagliatelle is prepared tableside. While it cooks, brandy is poured into an enormous wheel of 24-month-aged Parmesan Reggiano imported from Italy. The brandy is lighted on fire to melt the cheese and then the pasta is tossed into the wheel and covered in gooey goodness. Then the piece de resistance—shaved truffles—are added on top. Make a reservation at Tuscan Kitchen.
Deuxave, Boston, Massachusetts
Modern French technique meets the best of local American produce at Deuxave, the brainchild of Chris Coombs, darling of Boston’s chef scene. His $95 seasonal truffle chicken for two is served with savory sides — and it’s hard not to imagine devouring it beside the roaring fireplace here as the mercury dips in chilly New England. Make a reservation at Deuxave.
La Toque, Napa, California
Who better to feature truffles than a Wine Country restaurant? At La Toque, nestled in the heart of downtown Napa, Michelin-starred executive chef Ken Frank offers up truffled treats, such as sunchoke bisque with burgundy truffle and a dessert (!) – truffle ice cream with baby Crawford peaches. Make a reservation at La Toque.
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Carley Thornell is a travel writer whose experiences eating street food in Japan, English peas in the UK, free-range steak in Argentina, and Brussels sprouts at Estragon tapas in her hometown of Boston have provided unforgettable culinary inspiration. Shout out at email@example.com.
Photo credits: Juan Fernando Aroya (KYU); Lisa Diederich Photography (I Mulino Trattoria).