Thursday, January 25, 2018

Winter RW 2018 - Fusco

It's here, it's here, one of my very favorite times of year!  It's Restaurant Week, winter-style!  I've been going back and forth with the restaurants I want to try.  My Secret Santa at work this year gave me a 'one Restaurant Week (RW) lunch' coupon as a gift, so I'm very excited to try a new restaurant with him next week.  To start the celebration off right, though, I had dinner at a place I've long wanted to try: Fusco.

I know I've told you that I'm a fan of watching chefs on tv and one of my favorites is Scott Conant.  His food always looks amazing and I always heard wonderful things about his former restaurant Scarpetta, which was never on RW.  Fusco is his new place, which opened last year.  I was thrilled to see it was included for RW, though less thrilled when I saw it was for dinner only.  Dinner is more expensive, you see.  But I justified the reservation when I thought that I would be receiving a gift of one lunch, so I had a little extra in the RW funds than usual.  Not really, but I generally justify spending money in one way or another...

At first, my reservation was for Monday night, in the dining room-proper, but I had to cancel that reservation because of work.  When I changed to last night, the site told me the only seating that was left was 'high-tops.'  OK, that didn't bother me, I went ahead and booked the seat.  I do wish they would've said that the high-tops were at the very front of the restaurant - it was chilly last night and a breeze came in whenever someone opened the door.  They did try to protect the inside of the restaurant with heavy curtains, but it was still a little chilly up there and I wish I had worn a heavier sweater.  I can't complain too much, though, because my food and wine certainly warmed me up.

I was also a little bit bummed to see that you had to pay extra to try the chef's famous pasta.  I almost decided to do that, but opted to have a glass of wine instead.  I had a glass of the nero d'avolo, which was delicious.  The very nice host/sommelier/waiter approved my choice and gave me a taste, which was lovely of him.  So I guess I have to go back and have the pasta another time.

The wine was very rich, so I opted for menu choices that would complement it - for my first course, I got the mushroom sugo, served over sauteed mushrooms, polenta and truffles.  This was DELICIOUS.  It was certainly the best polenta I've ever had, so creamy and warm and soft and wonderful.  Oh so good.  The sugo, which the waiter slowly poured over the polenta, was also rich and flavorful.  This was a delicious starter, which could've been overly heavy, but wasn't.  And my wine paired with it beautifully.

My wine also paired beautifully with my main course, the duck breast, served medium rare with pureed butternut squash, fregola and sauteed greens.  Oh, and an amazing duck jus.  Jeepers, this dish was also incredible!  So balanced and full-bodied, yet still delicate and refined.  Each flavor was pronounced, yet they all went together perfectly.  I generally order duck when I go to a nice restaurant because it's something I would never make for myself and this was superb.  The skin was crispy and well-seasoned and the meat was perfectly tender.  And I now want to eat fregola in duck jus for the rest of my life, thank you.  Fantastic.

I was pretty full, but I finished every last bite of each course, even my dessert: tiramisu "affogato," with mascarpone mousse, espresso & vanilla gelato.  This was sort of a deconstructed tiramisu, with a delicious little ladyfinger cake at the bottom, two scoops of gelato and chocolate shavings on top, and then the waiter poured espresso over the whole thing.  YUM.  Of course, I asked for decaf espresso, I wanted to be able to sleep when I got home.  But this was, again, delicate yet full-flavored and almost robust with the fantastic espresso flavor which melted some of the gelato into an amazing sauce.  Thumbs WAY up for the dessert.

from the Fusco website
Well, thumbs way up for the whole meal!  It was terrific!  The service was great, the ambiance was nice, though I did feel a bit like an animal on display at the zoo, since the high-tops were at the front of the restaurant in the front windows.  But I definitely want to go back and experience Fusco from the lovely dining room in the back (which I snuck a look at when I went to the perfectly beautiful ladies room).  Maybe my birthday dinner?  There's so much on their regular menu that I want to try, not the least of which is Chef Conant's famous pasta.  But my meal last night was a great start to what will hopefully be my most memorable RW yet...

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