Vintage 1997, Torino
January 3, 2012
Vintage 1997 is sometimes described as the best restaurant in Torino. It has a good reputation and a Michelin star, for whatever that is worth in Italy. Linda, Tony and I went for dinner on October 5, 2011.
We had a nice walk from our hotel, mostly under the high arcades which cover the sidewalks, a distinguishing architectural feature of Torino. We arrived on time for an 8:00 reservation and were the first ones there. We were seated in the back of the traditional art nouveau dining room.
It almost filled up by 9:30 as diners kept arriving. They were mostly there for some special occasion: business, birthday etc.
We were quickly offered glasses of André Clouet, Grand Cru, Champagne Rosé. I guess that this French apéritif on the house seemed more art nouveau to them than the glass of prosecco which is traditionally offered in many good northern Italian restaurants. Foccacia, bread, grissini and a bottle of 2011 new harvest Sicilian olive oil were put on the table. Tony contemplated the extensive wine list.
We ordered a bottle of Barolo, Cannubi-Ravera-San Lorenzo 2004 G. Rinaldi. It was good, but a bit thin for a Barolo, while, at the same time, needing more age. It was eventually followed by a bottle of Nebbiolo D’Alba Mompissano Cascina Chicco 2001 which was very good, a nice way to drink an adequately aged Piemonte wine at a reasonable price.
Linda’s first course was
Agnolotti di gallina con i profumi dell’orto (rosmarino, salvia, aglio)
The fresh agnolotti were filled with chopped chicken; the flavor of rosemary and sage dominated this traditional, regional dish.
Tony and I had
Tajarin all’uovo con burro di montagna e parmigiano delle vacche bianche modenesi
Tajarin are a traditional pasta of the Piemonte, made just with white flour and many egg yolks. This was simply dressed with very good butter and parmesan cheese from what was once the prime cattle breed for parmesan that is now being revived. It was rich and delicious.
Linda and Tony’s main course was
La Torinese (costoletta di vitello con panatura di nocciole e grissini)
The veal chop had been coated in chopped hazelnuts and breadstick crumbs before frying. The salad of mixed greens and zucchini flowers was a good, refreshing offset.
My secondo was
Guanciotto di vitellone brasato al Timorasso con ratatouille di verdure
The veal cheeks had been braised in Timorasso, a hearty white wine from eastern Piemonte. They were flavorful and very rich. The diced vegetable mound offered some contrast.
We did not order dessert, but were offered this plate of local specialties which seemed like a cross between a pretzel and a sugar donut.
Our meal was an interesting window on an upscale version of the traditional cuisine of Turin. The service and pace were fine. We were glad we went.