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Cracco (Milano)


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#1 tupac17616

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Posted 06 March 2009 - 02:56 AM

I know there is the all-inclusive Milan dining thread already, but I was hoping to generate some conversation on this particular restaurant. Especially since, for whatever reasons, Cracco (at that time, Cracco-Peck) happened to be the very first restaurant in Italy that I ever read about. Not all these reports were glowing -- far from it. Many complained about the price, others questioned the "Italian-ness" of the cuisine, but some, it seemed, loved it, calling it one of the best in Italy. On this second go-round in Italy, I decided to give it a shot. Here's what I thought. (Pictures, if you are at all interested, are HERE).

Un buon abbinamento is Italian for “a good pairing”. It might refer to matching a shirt with the right slacks, coupling a glass of Sauternes with foie gras, or even allowing one slightly obsessive gourmet to share the table with another. The combination is complementary and sometimes magical. And it’s probably the best way I can sum up my dinner at Cracco with just three little words.

My striped dress shirt had French cuffs, a Windsor collar, and… Wait, what? You’re here to read about the food and the wine? I see. Then first I should tell you that we were lucky. Very lucky.

I discovered just a few days before our reservation that there is a chef’s table at Cracco, so I asked my friend to call and beg profusely see if it was available. The response wasn’t optimistic. People book that table way in advance, he was told. (New parents presumably have to choose right off — start a college fund for the baby, or send him to public school and book the chef’’s table at Cracco to celebrate his 18th birthday instead.) But hey, at least we tried.

Citibank gifted us with an annoying ATM conjunction junction malfunction at the airport, which meant we arrived at the restaurant out of breath, out of patience, and horribly late. But the maître d’ was unfazed. “You doubted me?”, Davide Osterero quipped with a self-assured smirk as he led us first through a heavy swinging door and then a smooth sliding glass entrance to our private kitchen annex. Controlled chaos gave way to calm silence. We had box seats for dinner and a show. I was in heaven.

They brought a box, or rather a treasure chest of white truffles to tempt us. There was even a truffle tasting menu available. But ordering à la carte was the only way to keep all the mouths at the table happy. We unleashed Luca Gardini, the young sommelier, to pair the wines as he saw fit. I don’t want to hyperbolize, but that was basically one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. Gardini’s choices redefined abbinamento for me in a way no restaurant — save l'Astrance — had been able to before. And unlike that experience, he did it in a language I could understand (for the most part). People of his caliber should be sainted.

We sipped a flute or three of Giulio Ferrari 1999 Riserva del Fondatore while some pre-game snacks arrived. The olive ascolane (meat-stuffed, breaded, and deep-fried olives) and savory baci di dama (sandwich cookies) were my favorites. But the creamy fish croquettes, dehydrated vegetable chips and four types of bread plus long, thick grissini didn’t disappoint, either.

The Insalata russa caramellata was chef Carlo Cracco’s update of a classic antipasto. This mayonnaise-bound mélange of boiled potatoes, peas, carrots and other ingredients brings with it 150 years of tradition — which is to say that most Italian kids hate it and most Italian adults are terrible at preparing it. This version could be a social reformer. Two crunchy disks of caramelized sugar infused with a powder made of dried capers and Maldon salt add pizzazz to an otherwise almost too rich and creamy combination in the center. The flavors were familiar, but their delivery was unexpected and fun.

The Crema bruciata all’olio d’oliva e garusoli di mare will stay in my mind for quite some time. A starter as stunning as the Arpège egg, it actually might never leave. Cuttlefish, olive oil, and vanilla sounded more like an orphanage for abandoned ingredients than an intentional combination. But this creation of sous-chef Matteo Baronetto won praise — 18,000€ of praise to be exact — at an international chef’s conference in San Sebastian last November and now I can see why. He cooks cuttlefish in olive oil at 62°C for 2 hours, blending it all with salt, sugar and vanilla to obtain a thick pomade. This is later chilled, passed under a broiler to caramelize the top, and dotted with winkles and pea sprouts. I plunged my spoon in and it came up creamy and thick, with the bounce of a half-set custard. It whispered a faint sweetness and conjured up sentori di mare, inklings of the sea. Its versatility was as remarkable as the taste, and frankly it could’ve made an appearance at any stage of the meal with equal grace.

Luca Gardini came in with a book. He flipped through the pages with a gleeful expression reminiscent of my niece showing me where Elmo is in her Sesame Street books (”He’s riiiiiight… there!”). The pages were edible. The pages, actually, were made of fish. Various types of raw fish and shellfish were puréed, spread out into thin sheets, and slow-cooked at a low temperature until smooth and pliable. Cut in short, wide strips, this “Marinara” di pesce in foglie con verdure croccanti (40€) came tossed with crisp artichokes, sweet little dried tomatoes, and a vibrant green vinaigrette. Cracco took the classic seafood salad and played with the textures and presentation without playing with the taste. This game was fun, and a glass of Etienne Sauzet 2000 Bienvenues-Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru made a fine match.

I have the kind of appetite generally observed in animals that are taken down with tranquilizer darts or seen behind the really tall fences at the zoo. So my companions anticipated a moment of calm before the storm, while I ate the seafood salad and they waited on the dishes they had actually ordered. But Chef Cracco, kind soul that he is, must have seen the looks of forlorn jealousy on their faces. He sent them each a Musetto di maiale fondente con scampi, an unctuous block of pork snout served with a single, beautiful prawn. Gardini followed in tune with some Heymann-Löwenstein 2006 Schieferterrassen to drink.

I knew Cracco was supposed to have a way with risotto, so I ordered one that has been on the menu in one form or another for years: Risotto con olio d’acciuga, limone e cacao (36€). Anchovy oil, lemon and chocolate certainly haven’t been in my mouth before at the same time. It sounded like the craving of a pregnant woman or someone who’s just puffed the magic dragon. But it piqued my curiosity, and if that implies that I was somehow pregnant or high, then so be it. The rice was cooked beautifully. Every grain was distinct, plump and saturated with flavor, but in a blink it melted away into a creamy sea of others just like it. The anchovy oil, lemon, and cacao were salty, sour, and bitter in every mouthful. There was minimal sweetness, which was nice, as I had feared a bit more. It was bracing and bold, making my taste buds stand at attention. But its texture was thick, delicate and sexy. It was somehow satisfying and challenging at once. The pairing here was the not-so-Italian-sounding Vodopivec 2005 Vitovska from Venezia Giulia.

My friend enjoyed his Ravioli di broccoletti cotti sul rosmarino e frutti di mare e semi di basilico (36€), for which Gardini’s sippable suggestion was Gyokuro green tea, Japan’s highest grade. I popped one of his ravioli in my mouth along with a plump mussel and razor clam. The shellfish were fresh and lovely, while the unmistakable woodiness of rosemary and the seductive sweetness of the basil seeds made a masterful pairing with the broccoli rabe. Meanwhile my brother had a Milanese classic: Risotto allo zafferano con midollo alla piastra (36€). The brother tested, sommelier approved beverage for him was a sweet passito from Campania, Cantina del Taburno 2003 Ruscolo. He finished it in record time, letting us share nothing but the view. I chose not to tell him that midollo means bone marrow.

Gardini is like a fire hydrant. Crack him open just a bit and he spews forth a fountain of information in rapid-fire Italian. From a barrage of words describing the aromas and flavors of our next beverage, one stuck out: banana. A beer that smells like… banana? Indeed, that was it. That was exactly it. And somehow the Aventinus wheat doppelbock made friends with the Spaghetti d’uovo, funghi e asparagi di mare. Okay, maybe not best friends — frankly I was as confused as I was enthused. But if nothing else, it kept my brain as engaged as my palate. This spaghetti was made entirely of egg yolks — look ma, no flour! — so it had an incredibly rich flavor and a pliable, slightly sticky consistency. Mushrooms and sea asparagus tugged the dish back and forth between land and sea. A technique and a flavor pairing that showed how Cracco is a wizard with eggs. In fact, he wrote a magic book on them.

The Cicala di mare con verze brasate al corallo (55€) was just frustrating. All shellfish ought to be as fresh and sweet as this Norway lobster. Would that it were so. It was the Savoy cabbage that had been puréed with the lobster coral to a smooth cream, but somehow the ultra-tender chunks of cicala seemed to dissolve on my tongue with even more ease. A few tantalizing little tendrils of radicchio di Treviso provided welcome bursts of bitterness. This was a simple dish (or at least it appeared to be), but precise cooking and prime ingredients made it an immensely satisfying one. Its alcoholic running mate — Domaine Ramonet 2006 Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru “Clos de la Boudriotte” — was also lovely.

Sea urchin is one of the first terms I learn in any language, so I was immediately drawn to the Rognone di vitello al forno con ricci di mare e spugnole (40€). This was my first experience with eating kidneys (and funny enough it was the first of three consecutive nights that I would have it) so I was unsure what to expect from the rognone, but the seductive sweetness of the Castello di Monsanto 1993 Vin Santo “La Chimera” must have been enough to put me at ease. A dish with considerable heft, the veal kidneys and sea urchin roe were paired with morels and sauced with an intense veal demi-glace. This loud cymbal crash signaled a slow decrescendo to a blissed-out state of surfeit.

Was it the Barolo taking over, or were my brother and my friend always so smiley? They sipped some Edoardo Sobrino 2004 Barolo “Vecchie Vigne di Montivigliero e Pisapola” and their exaggerated grins were downright silly. He already complained of being well beyond full (hell, so did I), but my brother obliterated the Fassone arrosto, anice stellato con patate croccanti (40€) like a champ. Given his undying love for steak and potatoes, I was not surprised. His only disappointment was the fries, which were less crispy than he would have liked. My friend practically polished the plate that had borne his wild hare: Filetto di lepre dorato e glassato con castagne, mele cotogne e salsa di melograno (44€). With those ingredients — chestnuts, quince and pomegranate sauce — I probably would have done the same.

Adjectives used as nouns are just one of the many lovable characteristics of the Italian language. Cremoso means “creamy”, and that’s exactly what the Cremoso all’arancia, carota e paprika was. I’m not sure if this copper-colored disk should be called a pre-dessert or a savory postscript. Like the olive oil crème brulée earlier, this could stunt double for a dish at any point in the meal. The orange, carrot and paprika combination had a flavor that was a more smooth and sweet than I had expected, tasting more of fruit than root.

The Diplomático Riserva Ron Extra Añejo tasted of, well, alcohol. That web link claims it smelled of white chocolate fudge, but I was far too inebriated by this point to either confirm or refute that. I didn’t do back flips over the Cioccolato fondente e avocado al peperoncino fresco (25€), though frankly acrobatics were out of the question — I wasn’t even sure I could walk. I’ve had chocolate cake with chili pepper before, but the inclusion of avocado was a new one for me. I had expected it to play a slightly salty role here, but instead it was only vaguely sweet. Little hillocks of shortbread crumbs were actually saltier, sweeter, and more buttery than the avocado.

I switched plates with my brother mid-way through, though he was reluctant to admit such a plan ever existed. So, yeah, I basically stole it. He’d ordered the Caco al forno, pesto d’arachidi e bignè caldo al nocino (25€), to my taste the better of the two desserts. Wedges of warm persimmon came laced with a peanut pesto and had the consistency of a thick custard on the tongue. There’s something utterly luxurious about this fruit when it is baked. The mini cream puff spiked with nocino, a walnut liqueur, was lovely and I would venture to guess that I could have eaten approximately 200 more of them. But if that would entail 200 more glasses of The Arran Malt Single Malt Scotch Whiskey, then I take that back.

My friend is my hero. He is known to drink champagne throughout entire meals, and here he was having caviar for dessert. But even better than the mere presence of the caviar was the fact that it worked remarkably well with his Crochette di cioccolato gianduia, chinotto e caviale (50€). Warm croquettes filled with pure liquid chocolate-hazelnut sexiness would have been more than fine on their own. But with the bittersweet chinotto underneath, little globules of caviar dispersed about, and a few well-placed grains of sea salt on top, these croquettes were otherworldly. In many restaurants, I would imagine that putting caviar in a dessert might have been more interesting than ingestible. At Cracco, it was done with finesse and fluidity. And it was enjoyed with some Capovilla 2001 Bierbrand Distillato di Birra Theresianer.

A somewhat shaky stroll to and from the bathroom suggested some caffeine was not a bad idea. Thank goodness they brought even more food while we downed an espresso — I was just famished at this point, as you can imagine. The Piccola pasticceria (a.k.a. petits fours) at some restaurants are a forced afterthought. A little box of coffee-flavored edible contact lenses made it clear that is not the case at Cracco. A thin little film of coffee gelée with a convex center even felt like the real thing on my fingertip. Maybe I need to get out more, but I thought this was an exceptionally fun presentation of a really simple idea. Dehydrated fruit chips – kiwi, orange, and apple among them — recalled the vegetable chips we had eaten a few hours before. Hazelnuts covered in bittersweet dark chocolate vied with powdered sugar-dusted almonds for the stomach space that all of us claimed but none of us really had anymore. Then I glanced down at the large tray of macarons, truffles, tuiles, jellies, and cookies and managed only a smile — laughing was too jarring for such a full stomach.

They essentially killed us with kindness all night, and I would gladly die such a happy death anytime. I couldn’t remember how many dishes I had actually ordered, but I definitely tasted about a dozen. I didn’t say much about the flavors of the wines on their own, because honestly I’m not sure I’m capable. But Luca Gardini’s choices — and the accompanying explanations — were enlightening, well thought out, and just plain enjoyable. Truth be told, Cracco is the first restaurant in Italy I ever read about. This was several years ago, before my love affair with this beautiful country began. So even if it wasn’t like I was returning home, it did feel like I had made a new one.

#2 cinghiale

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Posted 06 March 2009 - 05:54 AM

Very, very nice report, tupac.

#3 Alessia

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Posted 06 March 2009 - 07:01 AM

Nice report :smile: glad to see that you enjoyed it, especially because I've been reading mixed reviews on Cracco lately.

#4 pkeibel

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Posted 06 March 2009 - 07:09 AM

We were there this past September and it was one of my favorite italian restaurants. We didn't do the tasting menu but ordered a la carte based on dishes from his special menu. The seafood misto and cannoli in beer just blew us away as did the service.

#5 tupac17616

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Posted 06 March 2009 - 07:33 PM

Very, very nice report, tupac.

Thanks, cinghiale!

Nice report  :smile: glad to see that you enjoyed it, especially because I've been reading mixed reviews on Cracco lately.

Me, too! And I had read a number of them before the meal as well. In fact, I almost made the mistake of letting expectations get in the way on this trip. Based almost solely on my friend's suggestions, we had three big meals planned -- Cracco, Piazza Duomo, and Combal.Zero. But I ended up substituting the second with something I figured was a bit "safer", more traditional, because I didn't want to take chances three nights in a row. (FYI: my "safety" choice the second night was Antica Corona Reale in Cervere, which was also great.)
Truth is, Cracco and Combal.Zero were wonderful, and I realized I had misconceptions about them before. But misconceptions are made to be broken. I'm going back to Italy in a couple of weeks, and I'm going to try my best to go back to Combal, and hopefully Cracco, too. Piazza Duomo is also a definite this time around. That's the restaurant my friend's been raving about the most lately. And I'm beginning to trust him. :smile:

We were there this past September and it was one of my favorite italian restaurants.  We didn't do the tasting menu but ordered a la carte based on dishes from his special menu. The seafood misto and cannoli in beer just blew us away as did the service.

I completely agree about the service. It was formal but personable and comfortable at the same time. Everyone we interacted with just seemed so much at ease with themselves, and that put us at ease quickly.

#6 fortedei

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 09:54 AM

We got to know Carlo a number of years ago when he had a charming country restaurant between Alba and Bra. He was everything you could hope for in an Italian restaurant owner... a great menu, dishes well prepared, of course a wonderful wine list, and humility. We were probably there four or five times.
Carlo swore he would never fall for "Adrianess." It just wasn't the nature of Italian cuisine.
Clearly that has changed and the lure of the Gambero Rosso, the Michelin and L'Espresso turned his head.
When I read the description of some of the dishes, I felt a tear. What an abomination.

#7 Man

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 09:01 AM

We got to know Carlo a number of years ago when he had a charming country restaurant between Alba and Bra. He was everything you could hope for in an Italian restaurant owner... a great menu, dishes well prepared, of course a wonderful wine list, and humility. We were probably there four or five times.
Carlo swore he would never fall for "Adrianess." It just wasn't the nature of Italian cuisine.
Clearly that has changed and the lure of the Gambero Rosso, the Michelin and L'Espresso turned his head.
When I read the description of some of the dishes, I felt a tear. What an abomination.

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And yet I think it is exactly people like you, who have a deep experience of traditional Italian cuisine, who are in a best position to assess innovators like Cracco, because you would have the necessary cultural-gastronomic background to put what he is trying to do in context. I mean, if you have eaten hundreds of proper standard risotti you can better appreciate what a risotto with acciughe and cacao means. Wouldn't you be willing to give him an unprejudiced chance, based only on your sensory experience? (this is of course not to detract from Tupac's report which I found very perceptive).

#8 tupac17616

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 03:38 PM

We got to know Carlo a number of years ago when he had a charming country restaurant between Alba and Bra. He was everything you could hope for in an Italian restaurant owner... a great menu, dishes well prepared, of course a wonderful wine list, and humility. We were probably there four or five times.
Carlo swore he would never fall for "Adrianess." It just wasn't the nature of Italian cuisine.
Clearly that has changed and the lure of the Gambero Rosso, the Michelin and L'Espresso turned his head.
When I read the description of some of the dishes, I felt a tear. What an

And yet I think it is exactly people like you, who have a deep experience of traditional Italian cuisine, who are in a best position to assess innovators like Cracco, because you would have the necessary cultural-gastronomic background to put what he is trying to do in context. I mean, if you have eaten hundreds of proper standard risotti you can better appreciate what a risotto with acciughe and cacao means. Wouldn't you be willing to give him an unprejudiced chance, based only on your sensory experience? (this is of course not to detract from Tupac's report which I found very perceptive).

You raise an interesting point, Man. I think we would all benefit from experienced folks like fortedei giving more innovative restaurants a chance. I read many reviews of Cracco in English that were critical, and many reviews in Italian that were pandering. Strangely, not many the other way around.
And in reference to fortedei's proclamation pf some (all?) of these dishes as an "abomination", I would venture to say that I'm not sure "Adria-ness" requires one to forfeit his or her "Italian-ness".

#9 Bu Pun Su

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Posted 10 October 2011 - 08:48 AM

Everybody knows Milan is a fashion city and the home of my beloved AC Milan. One will easily find many locals and Asian nouveau riche shopping and carrying many luxury boutique bags. After tired shopping around via della spiga and corso venezia etc., then where will you eat? The same place in which you shop, such as many restaurants inside Galleria Vittorio Emanuele? Apparently many people do and I was trapped there as well on my first visit here. It was not easy to find a finest restaurant sincerely caring about cooking – the closest I could think of will be a few hours drive to Del Pescatore or Al Sorriso. Travelling my parents would not allow me to do that, the best of what’s available, I decided to try Cracco in the early 2010

Food (and wine) – 92/100

For fine dining standards, I suppose Cracco has plenty of dishes to offer. Even though these days, he’s known to be an innovative chef cooking contemporary Italian cuisine, I was more interested in ordering his classic menu serving many Milanese dishes (probably a safer choice too). The dishes that shone were risotto alla Milanese (creamy, delicious and rich in flavor due to the addition of bone marrow; at the same time it’s firm since prepared al dente) and breaded veal Milanese (simple, juicy and crispy). Another good dish was braised pork (soft and tasty) with grilled langoustine (a bit firm) showing contrast in texture, color and taste.

The rests were so-so. For instance, Cracco’s interpretation of ‘busecca’ with rabbit and salmon roes was alright. It would be interesting if the chef would also prepare ossobuco or ‘cassoeula’ in the menu. The cheese selection was not bad, especially the gorgonzola. The pre-dessert (amaretto and muscato) and the dessert (nutty ‘cloud’ of mascarpone cheese) were quite good.

My parents chose to order a la carte. They shared risotto with anchovy, oil and cocoa on top – though it looked like porridge, surprisingly good – salty and sour. They liked it even better than my risotto Milanese, well that’s good because I like mine better ;) for the main courses … I observed that they looked interesting and beautifully plating. Chef Cracco dared to put monkfish with squid ink and blue lobster with coconut milk. However, my parents were not too impressed. Both the fish and the lobster lack the inherent flavors of the main ingredients; the flavors were ‘pushed’ from the external elements aka the sauce and side dishes.

Chef Cracco was humble, intelligent and daring. He likes exploring some unique ingredients and combining them. As of now, it’s still far from being perfect, but at least the foodies should be excited with what he can do in the future (hopefully he’s moving in the right direction). He shared that he had no cooking background, even among his family members. He also said that he would never copy others. It’s quite amazing on what he has accomplished Though not exactly the same, I will say Chef Achatz and Veyrat were those chefs who managed to be playful and successfully create creative and delicious dishes. (I’ve never been to El Bulli and Fat Duck though, but they will definitely great as well). It’s a low 2 ½* on the food

Service (and ambiance) – 92/100

Ristorante Cracco is strategically located a few blocks from the Piazza Duomo. Apparently the dining room is in the ‘basement’. It has contemporary decor of cherry wood walls and cool earth tone with high ceiling; truly well-spaced, will be very difficult what the other table was discussing. With minimalist design, perhaps the chef wants the diners to focus more on the food. The service was good and rather formal in my opinion (quite the opposite of the decor). All staffs were professional, but it’s not easy to feel connected or befriend. I noticed that the table was served by different team beginning on the cheese course onwards. I was not sure whether they’re leaving or switched to the other side of dining room. The restaurant was about 75% filled. Overall, it has lots of potentials to be better. I would be more than happy to try the modern degustation menu showcasing chef Cracco’s creativity in the future. As of now, I gave 92 pts and Michelin got it right. The 3rd star may not come until a few years later

Pictures of the dishes: cracco early winter

#10 MaLO

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 12:38 PM

Ristorante Cracco

Dinner at Cracco Peck as it was then known was something we considered the last time we were in Milan (2005) but we decided against it as we were travelling on to Barcelona and decided that we could do a lot more with the money in Catalonia.

On Friday evening we popped in to Peck for a wine or two in the cellar then to the very convenient and very nice Ottimomassimo for some free wifi and a beer. Sitting there we glanced across the street and there was Ristorante Cracco so we popped in to see what was on offer. They had a table available and lots of interesting sounding food so the decision was made.

The menu had three tasting options and a la carte options. Quite a lot of choice. We opted for the largest tasting – the modern cooking.
There was quite a lot of food, some excellent, some not quite to my taste but none at all bad. I may not have every item described fully as I don’t take notes and there was a lot of food.

We started with a selection of dried vegetables, crisp, tasty and vibrantly colourful.

Cracco - dried nibbles...jpg

This was followed by as plate of very good canapés, then a selection fried items. This was a very good start with fresh clean flavours, light and very delicious.

Cracco - Canapes...jpg

Cracco - frito...jpg

Next came Seitan bread, red roses, tuna bottarga and rocket. A lighter than light bread topped with salad, as before very light and flavoursome.

Cracco - Seitan bread...jpg

The first plate proper was Oyster, fig pulp and sage butter. This was very good. Sweet and savoury. A few plates share this characteristic.

Cracco - oyster...jpg

Watermelon salad with melon, sea scallop and sea truffles. Possibly the best scallops I have ever eaten. The rest of the items were also good. Nothing was left behind.

Cracco - Scallops...jpg

Steamed red shrimps, hazelnuts with elderberry tea. The shrimps were excellent, not so keen on the nuts. They got a bit overpowering after a couple and the texture was quite soft.


Cracco - red shrimps...jpg

Baby calamari with black squid ink, cannellini beans and duck tongues. This was a good plateful. The squid dried ink became a sauce as the calamari and duck tongue yielded moisture. Duck tongue was a first. Almost seared foie gras in texture but with a delicate duck flavour. I really liked this dish.

Cracco - Squid, ducks tongues, dried squid ink...jpg


Lightly baked sea bream over crunchy hazelnut sheet. We were instructed to eat the fish and the sheet separately, so we did. The sheet was hot and the idea, I think, was that the hot sheet would lightly cook the fish. Can’t say I was convinced. The fish was nice. The sheet was hot and sweet and although not unpleasant, a bit too sweet at this point for my tastes. It didn’t seem to me that other than providing heat the sheet played any part.

Cracco - Bream sashimi on hazelnut sheet...jpg


Marinated salmon and foie gras. One of the simplest looking dishes imaginable but very delicious. The salmon was really flavoursome. Cold smoked / marinated with a host of aromatics (they did explain but I can’t recall).

Cracco - Marinated salmon, foie gras...jpg

Marinated egg yolk spaghetti with garlic, extra virgin olive oil and chillie. Possibly my favourite dish of the night. The way it was explained sounded like the egg yolks are salt cured then when the correct consistency is achieved pasta is made. No flour. Taste and texture and the how did they do that moment in terms of both the concept and execution.

Cracco - Egg spaghetti...jpg

“Acids” This was a quite complex arrangement of acidic bit and pieces. A ltiile like something called seeds I ate in El Bulli a few years ago.

Cracco - Acids...jpg

The “misread” Milano. A take on veal Milanese. Another simple looking dish. It was nice but lacking the wow of the better plates. In the context of a multicourse meal the lightness of touch is welcome although I am not so sure I would liked to have got this as a starter over three courses.

Cracco - Milanese misread...jpg

Spit-roasted pigeon breast, raspberry and chervil. A very good pigeon dish. The breast came with a very tasty confit leg and thigh. All good stuff.

Cracco - pigeon, raspberries...jpg

Strawberry sorbet with black olives. Pre dessert. Sweet strawberries as sorbet and fresh, salty olive finely chopped through a crumble type thing.

Cracco - pre dessert, strawberries and olive...jpg

Peach dessert with amaretto and blueberries. A good dessert. Not as impressive as some of the savoury cooking and in the context of this meal perhaps another dessert course would have been a good idea.

Craco - Desserts...jpg

Krice. A slightly peculiar crisp rice, biscuit thing. It came in a little plastic packet and looked very interesting, it was ok but I can’t say I entirely understood.


Finally came dried fruits, petits fours and sugared and coco dusted nuts.

Cracco -Pettit fours...jpg

The cooking is refined, light and elegant. Service is very well drilled, not overly chatty but not cold either. There was a little atmosphere although it was quite hushed with the exception of a table of three possibly Russian people who clinked glasses every few minutes. They were drinking cristal then a few bottles of white wine. I should think their booze bill entitled them to clink as they saw fit. I seem to remember hearing the sommelier say that champagne by the glass was Dom Perignon. There was not much in the way of budget booze. We bought a non wine list Italian sparkling rose on the say so of the sommelier. It was good, although I have no idea what it was, it was the final bottle in the cellar and went down nicely.
Martin