Even though I’ve been insanely busy lately, I had to squeeze in an AC trip on Friday night since Dawg was in town and this was to be sort of a warmup for his bachlor parties. Pretty tame as far as our AC trips go, tempered by the fact that I have a mortgage now so I can’t get too loose with the benjamins. Of course I wasn’t gonna shut things down completely, so it didn’t stop me from wagering $500 on one hand of blackjack just as I was about to leave in a vain attempt at breaking even on the trip. It looked ok when the dealer’s open face card was paired with a 6 card in the hole, but a 3 came next and beat my 18. Oh well.
On the positive side, Twoin and I had a killer meal at Specchio using our comp dollars. Oddly, we were given just a wine list upon being seated. No food menu, which is peculiar in that most people would normally consider the evening’s menu when selecting a wine accompaniment. Unfazed, I went with a red from Angelo Gaja, a reputable winemaker whose reds I had never sampled but whose chardonnay had been the best I’ve ever tasted. I selected the non-varietal Magari, which is a little on the lighter side (half merlot, quarter cabernet, quarter cabernet franc) since I knew we were going to be having pasta as our entree even though we hadn’t seen a menu yet (more on that in a bit). The wine came first and then the food menus finally arrived.
We started with the carpaccio which was truly excellent. Not quite on par with the outstanding Fleming’s version, but definitely a close second. The quality of the beef was superb; a good balance of marbling with a rich beef flavor. It was accented with a horseradish sauce which really made a lot of sense considering the classic combination of rare roast beef with horseradish. We followed that app with a mixed seafood platter featuring crabmeat on toast, colossal shrimp cocktail (generous quantity too), lobster (both claw and tail meat) and garnished with a variety of things such as hardboiled egg wedges, caper berries and some delicious pickled beets. Very nice app. For our entree we went for something that Twoin’s wife J had raved about a few weeks ago when her company held a corporate meeting at the Borgata- a truffle cheese ravioli with foie gras and cognac sauce. It was her description of the dish that made us determined to check it out this time around. Let me tell you, J was on the money with this call. It was a ricotta type cheese fortified with what must have been copious amounts of white truffle oil, all wrapped in whisper thin homemade pasta, sitting in a glorious pool of buttery, cheesy cognac sauce infused with melted foie gras, all topped with paper thin shavings of parmeggiano and chopped chives. Yes, it tasted every bit as artery-cloggingly good as it sounds. That first bite had flavors that bowled me over in waves. First you taste the bright green flavor of the chive, then the mild texture and flavor of the ricotta immediately followed by the fragrance of the truffle and then your palate is overwhelmed by an explosive wave of butter, cream and foie gras countered with a touch of the cognac’s sweetness. Twoin said it was the best pasta dish he’s ever tasted. I wouldn’t go that far (the truffle+foie gras soft egg ravioli at Olives circa 1998 is still tops in my book), but it was still pretty damn impressive. That you can get this quality of food in Atlantic City is truly remarkable.