The crew at Piastra is fabulous. I just want to say that up front. Twice now I’ve attended tasting dinners at this marvelous little Italian restaurant on the Marietta Square, and both times I’ve left full, happy, and more knowledgeable than when I first arrived. You should definitely visit Piastra and if it’s for a wine or spirits dinner, so much the better. Now, let’s get to the most recent event at Piastra, the Prestige Wine Imports dinner.
The four-course meal was attended by myself, a lovely local couple, and Prestige Wine Imports representatives Michael McArdle and Jim Favret. The intimate gathering in the back room of Piastra was a splendid setting to learn about the wines of the evening while enjoying them with perfectly matched dishes. Chef Greg Lipman did a wonderful job of creating delicious dishes that went extremely well with the wines. The food complemented the wine just as well as the wine did the food.
The first course was a cod cake, called a bacalao, that was so full of meat I couldn’t tell you what was holding it together. It was served on a bed of greens dressed with a Calabrese vinaigrette and a touch of candied lemon. This was paired beautifully with the 2015 Dalila White Blend by Stemmari. Slightly sweet with lots of fruity notes, the blend of Grillo and Viognier was the perfect complement to the bacalao.
Moving on to the second course, we enjoyed a delicious tartara made with elk meat tartare dressed with shallots, garlic, and oregano, sprinkled with pickled mustard seed, and topped with black truffle and an egg yolk. Now, I’m a huge fan of tartare and this was simply amazing. It was paired with the 2014 Cantodoro Red Blend by Stemmari. The blend of Nero d’Avola and Cabernet Sauvignon produced tannins that cut the rich tartara making it an ideal combination.
Course three was a fonduta, or as Chef jokingly referred to it, “grilled ham and cheese.” Made of caciocavallo cheese melted over house-cured capicola and served on a grilled focaccia, this tasty open-faced sandwich was a fun yet lavish dish. It was paired with the 2015 Mottura Primitivo Del Salento, a 100% Primitivo with strong berry notes which gave the fonduta a slightly sweet overtone.
The fourth course was a capretto, a spicy goat ragout served over a hand-rolled cannelloni. Paired with the 2015 Mottura Negroamaro Del Salento, the slight spice in the 100% Negroamaro wine perfectly matched the spice in the dish.
At the conclusion of the meal, Chef surprised us all with a fifth course! A beautiful housemade rosemary and raspberry gelato served with an almond scone. Served with this was a super refreshing prosecco and limoncello cocktail, perfect to end a late Spring dinner.
If you haven’t visited Piastra yet, make the time to do so. Watch Culinary Local for future tasting events as well.