Ceraldi is the dream realized of Chef Michael Ceraldi. An intimate dining experience with beautifully prepared and presented food sourced from local farms and local waters. Set on a patio deck above Commercial Street in Provincetown with a view of the harbor, summer breezes wafting over you, the experience begins with Prosecco as you peruse the day's tasting menu. Although the chef is prepared to make one alternate based on allergies or other objections to a particular course, the menu presents a concept from first course to last. This food is a journey of tastes and textures prepared and presented with great artistry.
Because the menu changes daily based on which fresh local ingredients are available, it is almost unkind to describe individual dishes we were served. However, all of the courses were carefully prepared, were complex in their flavors and textures and built upon each other to create a dining experience worthy of the best restaurants you can name. Chef Ceraldi is fearless and imaginative in his creations and strives to showcase the main ingredient in each course, not overwhelm it in spices and seasonings. From the chilled beet soup with apricot cream and flower petals to the Wellfleet oysters with Prosecco mignonette to the mixed greens that included mint and basil, the first part of the meal was light and refreshing.
Then came the arancini, a deep-fried rice ball stuffed with mozzarella and herbs and accompanied by eggplant caponata, a savory eggplant relish. One of my favorite courses was the Provincetown scallops served with coin-sized slices of zucchini and maltagliati pasta in a rich, buttery sauce. The vegetables were slightly al dente and blended with the scallops and pasta perfectly. All of this built up to the striped bass course, the fish beautifully prepared with crispy skin and succulent flesh sauced with leek puree and served with purple potatoes and tomato basil salsa. Dessert was a wonderful dark chocolate mousse with amaretto whipped cream.
Every course was accompanied by the chef's suggested wine pairings, which were elegant and wonderfully suited the food for that course. We chose the 3 oz. pour for $30 for the flight and thought it enhanced the already spectacular food.
A word about the service. Chef Ceraldi visits each table at the beginning of the sitting and also spends a few minutes speaking to the entire group about his chosen food for the day. When was the last time you were able to discuss the menu with the chef at the outset of the meal?
The wait staff is personable and very well informed about the food and the wine. Unobtrusive but involved, the servers want to know your reactions to the food and the wine, if you've chosen it. Occasionally the chef himself brings a course to your table.
Plan to spend at least 2 1/2 hours at table. This is not a restaurant that is trying to hurry you through your meal in order to turn the table. You are welcome to sip your wine, savor your food, spend time looking at the view and enjoying your companions. You will leave the table with your appetite sated in flavor, texture, taste and enjoyment. There's not another dining experience like it in Provincetown.
Ceraldi. Seven courses prix fixe for $70.00. Menu changes daily. Wine pairings from $30.00 for a 3 oz. pour (there is also a larger pour wine flight) or individual wines by the glass or bottle. Cash only, so be prepared. There is an ATM right across the street, though.
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