Sherman's Food Adventures: La Quercia (Veneto Menu)

La Quercia (Veneto Menu)

I love La Quercia.  There I said it.  Yes, I have a personal bias for this place and no, I've never been invited for any tastings.  So this is purely based on my 5 visits here (including this one) where I've only blogged about 2 of them.  This time around, we ended up doing the Veneto Menu (similar to their now gone Alla Famiglia) that featured multi-courses somewhat shared by the table.  The "we" were some foodie buddies including Areta, Maggi, Hanson and Kristina.  It was great catching up with them dining on delicious food and some drinks as well.

As part of the Veneto Menu for $65.00 per person, we were started off with an array of little appies including Lardo Crostini, Pesce in Sour, Humpback Prawn, White Anchovy with roasted red pepper, Fava Bean & Mint, Egg in Endive and Chicken Liver Pate.  The highlights included the delicately sweet prawns.  They were buttery soft with a light rebound.  By virtue of being white anchovies, they were not as salty while exhibiting a wonderful brininess.  Everything was solid, but the real star of the show was the Morels stuffed with sausage atop grilled asparagus.  My word, these were frickin' delicious.  Exhibiting its classic appealing squishiness, the morels were woodsy and well-seasoned.  Add in the meaty sausage and these little bites were heaven.  I could've eaten the whole plate myself and then some.

Up next, we were each served a portion of the Squid Ink Risotto.  This was a departure from the alla famiglia-style dinners where we would have to portion each plate ourselves.  Despite the visuals (since anything squid ink is not photogenic), the risotto was firm and not overdone.  It was only lightly cheesy and in need of more salt.  It ate pretty plain and we surmised that some form of protein would've added something to the dish.  Our pasta course consisted of the Bigoli with anchovy and onion.  The pasta was firmly al dente which was perfect in my opinion.  There was a noted brininess from the anchovy as well as pleasant fishiness.  The onion added plenty of sweetness while the finish was pure umaminess.  This was simple, but good nonetheless.

Onto the protein, we had the Local Lamb with beets, cauliflower puree, cauliflower and jus.  Prepared a beautiful medium-rare, the lamb was lean and meaty.  However, I found it on the chewier side.  It wasn't very gamy as the natural flavour was subtle.  The jus was silky, gelatinous and full of umaminess.   Underneath the slices of lamb, we found the neck meat and it was fatty and tender.  It almost tasted like duck.  The beets were tender with a bite and a touch of woodsiness.  After the savoury items, we decided to go for the 3 most interesting desserts (we didn't think the fruit carpaccio nor strawberries & cream were worth it) including the Lemon Cream with orange segments on top.  This was thick, rich and creamy.  There was a nice balance between tangy and sweet which was super-refreshing.

Our other 2 desserts consisted of Rice Pudding with pears, caramel and meringue as well as the Chocolate Torte with quince.  Hidden underneath sheets of meringue, the rice pudding was topped with caramelized pears.  There was plenty of sweetness from the peaches which made up for the fairly flat-tasting rice pudding.  Lastly, the torte was full of dark chocolate flavour and slight bitterness.  It wasn't as sweet at all, but the side of tangy and boozy quince provided the punch the dessert needed.  Honestly, we had a great time catching up and chatting about random things, the food was secondary.  However, it was still up to the usual La Quercia standards.  I don't mind visiting the place over and over again.

The Good:
- Solid food as usual
- Great service as usual
- Focused menu

The Bad:
- Seating is tight as usual
- I miss the alla famiglia menu


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