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Silene, a locanda 15 miles from Montalcino


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We went down to Montalcino yesterday to buy some wine. Usually we stay overnight in the town. This time we decided to try Il Silene (ilsilene.it) about about 15 miles south of Montalcino in Seggiano, near Monte Amiata.

This place is everything Carlo Cracco (see topic Cracco Milano) is not. Actually. this is not quite true. This place is very similar to what Carlo Cracco had when, several years ago, he was in his locanda between Alba and Bra.

A few comfortable rooms and very good food. A talented, extremely nice owner/chef (Roberto Rossi) and his wife. A good, very reasonably priced wine list with oodles and oodles of Brunellos (but you won’t find Cracco’s Gyokuro green tea on the list).

There wasn’t any foam in sight. No sous-vide, no molecular food, no food in Mason jars, no fusion. The usual sign vietato fumare could have been replaced by vietato Adria’. Carlo Cracco would have recognized all the food; he once cooked this way.

I started with the zuppetta di piccione and my wife had the zuppa di scottiglia. Then for primi piatti, raviolini ripieni al piccione; tagliatelle con asparagina selatica di macchia. Some other choices for primi: tagliatelline con ragu di coniglio and risotto al lampredotto (Rossi’s version of Cracco’s risotto con olio d’acciuga, limone e cacao). For main courses we had rognone di vitella and wonderful agnello alla brace. Also available last night was animelle di agnello, tagliata di petto d’anatra, composizione vegetale di verdure miste in varie cotture. and three or four other main dishes. The menu changes often (Roberto is a whiz with a Mac and so it doesn’t faze him to print out a different menu every day depending on what he wants to cook and what is in the market; would that all restaurants did this). Dessert was a delicious zuccoto (and two dessert wines). Da bere: 1995 Brunello Il Poggione (100 euros). Finished off the bottle and so had a glass of 1995 Brunello Fanti as well. The food cost was 103 euros.

Great meal? No. Very good. Yes. Wonderful flavors, excellent cooking skill, friendly service, very reasonable check, don’t have to drive anywhere after the meal (just walk upstairs). You’ll recognize everything on your plate (and the plating was good). It’s a very good place to go if you’re in Montalcino.

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