Who drives 2 1/2 hours to check out a new restaurant? Only a bunch of crazy foodies.
And where were we headed, you ask? To the Mirbeau Inn & Spa (over in Rhinebeck, New York) where you will find celebrity chef Charlie Palmer’s newest place, “Willow.”
With some twelve critically acclaimed establishments around the country, including “Aureole” (NYC & Vegas) and “Charlie Palmer Steak” (DC, NYC, Reno & Vegas), we approached his latest endeavor with some trepidation. After all, most celebrity places tend to disappoint.
But imagine our surprise when we were blown away by our first dish, the “Organic Porcini Trumpet Pasta” — wild mushroom ragout, burgundy truffles, shaved parmesan ($15/$28 (larger plate pictured)).
This flavorful horn- or bell-shaped pasta is made with a puree of porcini mushrooms that’s blended with organic durum semolina. It’s then topped with an array of rich, deep, earthy, (even nutty) flavors imparted by the ragout, cheese, and truffles.
While $28 is on the high side for a plate of pasta, we understand that this particular truffle is mostly foraged in Italy and France, and can be pretty pricy. ($600+ a pound?!?)
And even though some found this delicious dish a bit “heavy” and “oily,” our group still scored it an extremely strong “B+.”
[And since we were in the area, we also stopped by the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival that was being held at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. (See video.) It was a hoot.]
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