Adam Erace visits Il Pittore to try Chris Painter’s food at his own restaurant (the Starr director of menu development finally has a place of his own). Erace laments the slip-ups and the lack of value.
Painter gives octopus-and-potato salad, the classic found in Italian port cities, an inspired twist. Tentacles get simmered in white wine, cooked sous-vide for 10 hours and crisped in a blazing cast-iron pan before rendezvousing with buttery poached fingerlings and pickled bell peppers in a column that rises from a pool of zippy arugula purée. Crunchy and soft, smoky and bright, rich and austere, this antipasto packs multiple flavor and texture contradictions, and I loved it.
I also loved the savory spin on the classic Christmas cookies, pizzelles. Speckled with rosemary, parsley and thyme, the thin, emerald-tinted waffle crisps were effective crostini for Painter’s custardy foie gras mousse served with spice-warmed lambrusco and apple-Prosecco jellies.