We were staying at DV Chalet for seven nights so inevitably decided to upgrade from their bistro restaurant to the Dolomieu for one of our dinners. At €90, the tasting menu (eight courses plus a couple of amuse-bouches, and petit-fours with your coffee after) compares well with other restaurants of this quality and paying a measly €30 each to pair each course with a generous glass of wine (not all different, but at least five different ones from memory) definitely takes it into the good value bracket.
The pureed salt cod and pate de foie gras pre-starters were both lovely and though we can't for the life of us remember what the first two courses were they certainly maintained the standard. The 'tribute to the dolomites' of whelks in a pool of finely pureed cannellini beans with a side dish of a single piece of local speck was the one dish which just didn't work at all but happy to accept one duff dish in ten. Normal service was resumed with some gorgeous eel.
Then came the three meat dishes and although each in their own right was exemplary, we did feel that all three on the same menu was just a bit too much, and created a bit of imbalance in the overall development of the meal. First up was a lovely single duck ravioli (as listed on the menu) but this came with a sizeable slab of foie gras - much as I love FG it did seem an ostentatious accompaniment and also meant we got a glass of sauternes mid-menu which didn't seem quite right. Next was Enrico's take on goulash which I think was the richest, stickiest, most unctious dish I have ever tasted - only a very small helping but absolutely sublime. Only problem is there was another main course to follow and something this rich really needed to be the pinnacle before a light dessert took you back down. As it was it meant that the final meat course, knuckle of roe deer, while again absolutely delicious and worthy of a Michelin star in its own right, just seemed a level of richness too many. The pinnacle had turned into a bit of a plateau and I think we wanted to come down !
The chocolatey-spongey dessert when it came was a gratefully-received very light end to the meal, though the dessert wine that arrived just before it might have suggested we would be getting something more fruity than chocolate.
Knocking a mark off for the overpowering richness of the main three courses is maybe a bit harsh*, and nine of the ten courses were, taken on their own, virtually incapable of being improved upon. But it's tough being a Michelin starred restaurant and with competition from the Hermitage and Il Gallo Cedrone in town, Enrico will need to be on his mettle to maintain and enhance his reputation.
But all in all this was a wonderful example of a young chef taking an infinite variety of high quality ingredients and preparing them in an equally varied number of ways to produce a series of quite brilliant series of culinary vignettes. Get the balance of the meal right, and this will be well-nigh impossible to better.
(* it might have still just scraped a 5 had it not been for, what seems, the trend in Madonna to serve high-quality food in a recreated stube. 'Tacky' is maybe too strong a word, but for me it just isn't a good fit, especially when the people in the 'cheap seats' bistro adjoining, get starched linen.)
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