I had the privilege of being invited to try Chef Micah Wexler’s “Dead Chefs” series at The Residency, located within UMAMIcatessen in Downtown L.A. As part of this series, each chef develops a menu with a historical culinary figure in mind. At my tasting we were graced with the inspiration of Maestro Martino di Como, known as the legendary “Prince of Cooks” in Italy. Our 5 course meal was absolutely incredible and I highly recommend you reserve a seat for this experiential meal which changes on the weekly.
We started with the Sgombri con Zucchini e Finocchi: mackerel, summer squash, wild fennel sauce. The freshness of the fish, paired with crisp vegetables and dill was a beautiful start to the meal. The flavors were so bright that I found myself wanting to lick the plate to savor every ounce of the dish. On to course 2, Zanzarelli con Fava e Zafferano: bread soup, fava bean, and saffron. Though it was difficult to capture the glory of this soup with a photo, I must attest the fragrance was rich and the broth felt hearty while maintaining a lightness when consumed. The snap of the fava bean in my mouth was a pleasant surprise when I was fortunate enough to find one in my spoon. I’d love to learn how to make this soup in my very own kitchen! Course 3, Tagliarini Genovese: fresh pasta, arugula, mozarella, parmigiano was bold, made with argula pesto rather than the usual basil. The pasta was legit, but I found myself wanting to add salt to my bowl to cut the bitterness of the arugula. It was certainly beautiful to play with but had me wanting just a little something else.
The pièce de résistance was undoubtedly Maialino da Latte Arrosto: roasted suckling pig, garlic, herbs, offal sauce. This bad boy made us squeal with delight (pun intended) when he was delivered to the carving station. Micah was proud to pose with the pig and we all eagerly awaited our very first bite of the perfectly cooked white meat. The flavor was on point, the meat moist and the crispy outer layer of skin is what dreams are made of. I had a chance to choose some extra pig parts and I went straight for the crispy ears – an absolute delight! To conclude this glorious experience they brought out course 5, dessert. Crostata di Madorle: almond tarte, date, coffee. I was almost beyond stuffed at this point but not too much to enjoy a few bites of this delectable sweet treat topped with crème fraîche.
UMAMIcatessen, 852 Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90015