Food Struggles to Justify the Tally at Il Pittore
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.