14 April 2015
After my rather disappointing dinner at Il Comandante I was reconsidering whether to just bypass any other “haute” cuisine destination on this trip. However, I have heard real good things about Palazzo Petrucci and its chef, Lino Scarallo, so I decided to press on with this evening’s booking.
I had a very busy day around the centre of Napoli. Took me a few minutes to get my Mezzogiorno senses back — meaning how to cross busy roads — but I was soon back to normal. I feel bad for some of the tourists I saw that just could not get across these streets. When you travel, best thing is to go native — in every way.
Busy day and I was knackered. My lunch was utterly fantastic…which I will chronicle in the next post, but my Twitter followers would have seen it that day the offaly goodness that was lunch… I made my way back to the Piazza San Domenico Maggiore that cool evening (I was there at the church earlier) and found my way to Palazzo Petrucci.
A cool little space next to the historic church, I was shown a cozy little table in this 1-Michelin eatery. There’s a pizzeria connected, but tonight was another try at going all out. But after last night’s misstep I did not want to commit to another tasting menu, so I went with my senses for tonight.
The service here was fantastic as well, and there was no attempt to upsell overpriced bottles of out-of-region wine at all. It was truly a better restaurant experience from the opening moment. And when you see tourists and locals all enjoying the food, you know it’s much better than listening to various tables gabbing in Russian only…
I ordered my courses and relaxed with some nice white, and a mozzarella amuse. I like this place, it’s a historic building but they built this into a modern inside — with the kitchen upstairs. Reminded me a little of Maaemo in Oslo, but imagine it with the character of a centuries-old building meshed into it. Soon my starter arrived, and I gasped…
Oh. My. Goodness. This was my crudo starter. I have never seen a crudo starter like this before… It was actually rather hard to keep my drool from dripping — or my tears from falling. This was about as close to crudo paradise as I’ve ever seen… There were different types of prawns, shellfish, and fish, too many to name. The brown prawn in the centre was fantastic, as was the oyster. The tuna was superb, as was the amberjack. Even the chunk of mozzarella was just gorgeous, still dripping with milk.
I was in heaven for the 20+ minutes I spent feasting on this dish. Utterly fantastic. One of the dishes of the year easily… Now I know where my dear friend Salvatore Marino at Il Grano in Los Angeles gets inspiration for his famous crudo (he spent many years in Napoli). Wow. I finished this dish with more drool and tears…this was just bloody awesome!
I enjoyed more wine and just enjoyed this nearly orgasmic experience… What a dish. They gave me a little time to relax — the FoH staff was brilliant on timing by, well, actually watching the diners’ reactions. This is the sign of a professional shop that deserves more than 1 Michelin star. My first then appeared.
Mmm, now this was Naples on a dish. Spaghettone with anchovy and seaweed. Lovely stuff. Now this pasta was cooked perfectly! After last night’s disastrous pasta dishes, I nearly cried again tasting perfectly cooked pasta again. This was a wonderful dish, full of flavour and just the perfect texture. Fabulous!
I was absolutely happy already with this dinner. This place is excellent both FoH and kitchen, producing top notch food with fabulous service. As I said before, this place deserves more than 1 star — no way this place can be equated with the poor Il Comandante!
Then my second arrived, and my smile grew even bigger — if that was possible…
Oh my, what quacky goodness! I love duck, especially cooked right — and this was just awesome. Fabulous cut, excellent preparation, temperature just perfect. The flavour of the duck breast comes straight out, laced with a tiny bit of anise. Oh my! The duck dish of the year, certainly!
I was almost sad when I finished this dish, as this was the end of the dinner. That was a hell of a three course, one of the best overall dinners I’ve had in ages. I couldn’t end it here, so there was some dessert coming.
A small but nice end to the evening, an assortment of traditional sweets with a twist. All excellent, especially that cannolo with pistachio! I had some grappa and espresso to finish this wonderful evening off before I trekked downhill for the stroll back towards the Castel Nuovo and my hotel.
After last night’s poor experience at Il Comandante, this place completely justified me continuing to try these types of restaurants. Adding my amazing lunch today, this day has been as close to food perfection as I’ve had since Japan. I have rarely enjoyed a food day as much as today, and I smiled all the way down the hill.
Oh Napoli, this was wonderful…
Piazza San Domenico Maggiore 4