January 29, 2015
That's Nancy Silverton, serving the focaccia di Recco at Chi Spacca, which may be the most irresistible thing I've eaten this year.
Think crisp, paper thin layers of dough. Rich stretchy cheese. Olive oil. Salt. The play of textures is arresting – you focus on the amazing things happening in your mouth – and then you just stop thinking altogether and succumb to the sheer deliciousness of the dish.
Chi Spacca is famous for its meat. Among other things, Chad Colby's homemade salume (I'm especially partial to the culatello):
but I decided to focus on dishes other than the giant tomahawk pork chop, the gonzo meat pie, the fabulously expensive bistecca alla fiorentina that everyone is always rhapsodizing over.
So we began with these incredible little crostone of anchovies and butter. Is there anything better than the saline tang of really good anchovies tamed with sweet butter?
Then this ode to the middle ages, when the rich ate their meat on trenchers of bread, and then donated the bread to the poor. If it tasted anything like this drippings-soaked toast, well, count me in. I suspect we'll be seeing copies of this soon. (In a further ode to the lore of the trencher, this is also the least expensive dish on the menu.)
And then there is this chicken, a version of pollo alla diavolo that relies more on lemon than chiles. The chicken itself is pretty perfect – crisp and moist, juicy and flavorful – and there's that trencher again, soaking up all the juices.
And did I mention the cauliflower? It's the vegetable of the moment, taking over from kale, and Spacca does a very satisfying version:
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