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L'Impero


Orik
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I'm glad you liked the post and the pictures. I've had the digital camera since October or so, but I've used it primarily to photograph cityscape. Most of the photos I've taken inside restaurants were too dark and needed to be retouched significantly (more lightness and contrast, mostly, plus resizing, of course), but when they're too glary, it's almost a total loss.

I'll surely take pictures of a meal again some time, but it sure does take some time to edit and upload the pictures. :laugh:

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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We were there again last night and the food was terrific. We took two Californians and a Chicagoan and they all loved it. The food was presented beautifully and tasted delicious. The staff could not have been nicer and at $52 for the price fixe menu we got a great deal.

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  • 1 year later...

There were a number of places I could post this, but thought I'd dust of this thread.

My wife and I went to L'Impero Friday night with a couple of friends and were extremely pleased yet again. There were some new dishes on the menu as well as old favorites and we tried a variety of both.

Of the four of us, three had the prix fixe. The other guest, who claimed not to have a large appetite, ordered just an entree and shared some of our other dishes. This worked out fortuitously, as she chose the one gem that is not on the prix fixe, the oxtail and black truffle risotto.

Appetizers

Marinated Pacific Yellowtail, sea salt, olio di zenzero and red onion

We all had some of this. This is one of my favorite ways to have tuna, although it has to be done very delicately because a little too much salt can quickly overpower the disk. Nevertheless, the ginger oil and peperoncino oil are nice compliments to the richness of the tuna.

Puree of Asparagus and Mussel Soup, potatoes and toasted ciabatta

As you can probably guess, only the asparagus is pureed, not the mussels, which were very plump. Their brininess complimented the asparagus well, or at least so I was told as my wife guarded her soup. Definitely something she would order again.

Fricassee of Seasonal Mushrooms, creamy polenta and truffle reduction

Impossible to give this dish more kudos that it has already received. The polenta here is as good as I've had anywhere and wild mushrooms with truffle reduction are a no brainer. Excellent yet again.

Crispy Sweetbread Fricassee, spring vegetables and truffled spinach puree

This was my starter (a new dish) and it was delicious. My only caution in recommending it is that it is really more of a salad, not a large chuck on cripsy sweetbreads (it is small pieces). The overall texture and flavor of the dish was excellent, although I did, at time, wishing for a large single piece of sweetbreads instead.

As good as all the appetizers were, the mushrooms, again, were the standout.

Pastas

Although there are very good appetizers and entrees at L'Impero, it is the pastas that leave the longest memory.

House Made Tajarin, braised lumache, asparagus, porcini and basil

A couple of years ago had a Yukon gold potato gnocchi at L'Impero that had both lumache and porcini that we thought was excellent, so I had to try this new one. Although not my favorite L'Impero pasta, this is an excellent combination and left my plate very quickly.

House Made Fontina Raviolini, truffle reduction and parmigiano

Of all of the new dishes on the menu, this was a greatest revelation. A very simple dish that makes a huge impression. This seems to have replaced the Veal and Truffle Raviolini from the winter menu and is much better (I found the veal raviolinis a little salty). Each raviolini is a burst of truffle essence, which explodes in your mouth and runs down the back of your throat. Extremely hedonistic. I was only able to pry two off my wife's plate and will have to place an order of my own next time. This is destined to be a classic pasta at L'Impero.

Duck and Foie Gras Agnolotti, moscato passito di sardegna reduction

Along with the mushrooms, another signature dish, always pleasing. While I ordered the Tajarin for myself, I couldn't imagine taking someone here and not having them taste the agnolotti, so we ordered one for the table. A big crowd pleaser as always. The only problem is that the simple addition of a few agnolotti seemed to make the difference between a meal of just the right size and an incredibly filling meal. Not a bad way to go, I guess. In any case, this dish always seems to make it onto our table in some way when we visit.

House Made Pappardelle, rabbit ragu, parsnips, mint and pignoli

This is the one pasta dish that had always eluded me and, thank god, one of our companions ordered it. Between L'Impero and Alto I have had a few excellent rabbit dishes. This was a hearty pasta with great flavor. The ragu of rabbit with mint and pignoli could be eaten on its own but was especially good with papparedelle. I will have to get a plate of this for myself at some point as well.

Entrees

Oxtail and Black Truffle Risotto, caramelized onion and parmigiano

For a while, L'Impero had an Oxtail Risotto on the menu that I had wanted to order, but it was one of two dishes that were not part of the Prix Fixe. On New Year's Eve, they switched it to a Black Truffle Risotto and I had it. Very good, but not unlike other black truffle risottos I have had. Combining the two was definitely the right move. The rich mound of oxtail surrounded by a black truffle risotto was outstanding. I hope it stays on the menu for years to come.

Slow Roasted Veal Chop, root vegetable and chestnut stufato

My wife's entree, I was only able to have a couple of bites, but it was perfectly cooked, although on a large Flintstones-type bone. My only objection was the $18 surcharge for the prix fixe, but it was excellent and at least one of us had to order it.

Spice Roasted Free-Range Chicken, creamy polenta, currants, almonds and fegato sauce

I wanted to pick something new for an entree that was not fish and not something ordered by another and I chose the chicken. The fegato sauce is like a loose pate. Combined with the excellent polenta (a fried square), this is one of the best chicken dishes I have had in a long time. Its flavors were more muted when compared with some of the other dishes, but after some water and wine to cleanse my palate, it was thoroughly enjoyable. The various rich ingredients combine to make a thoroughly comforting whole.

Moist Roasted Vermont Capretto, artichoke and potato 'groestle'

The capretto was the first entree I ever ordered at L'Impero and at the time I thought it could have been more flavorful. However, this dish was much better than I had remembered, or it has been changed slightly. I will definitely order this as an entree in the near future.

Overall Best Dishes - Fontina Raviolini, Duck/Foie Gras Agnolotti, Fricasee of Mushrooms, Oxtail/Black Truffle Risotto, Capretto

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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  • 1 year later...

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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  • 2 months later...
it's now michael white from fiamma?

Yes, both at L'Impero and Alto.

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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I wonder if he's going to keep the spaghetti alla chitarra con pomodoro fresco on the menu. I remember being intrigued, but ultimately underwhelmed, by this dish.

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  • 6 months later...

My mother was there a week or so ago and was really disappointed in the food and horrified at the prices. She is less discriminating than I am, and if she doesn't like something it's usually a safe bet that there's something wrong with it. She was with a younger friend who is apparently a very good cook (and who eats out all the time I think) and who felt the same way. S'all I know.

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The restaurant is not particularly expensive and even seems to be a bargain of sorts to me.  $64 for 4 courses, right?

It used to be a (relative) bargain, but if the food has gone downhill since Conant's departure (I was seriously underwhelmed by Alto about four weeks back, but really enjoyed all of my 2005/2006 meals at L'Impero, so I wouldn't be surprised if it were the case), I'd say $64 is no longer a steal.

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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