Now we Chowder types are careful about who we pal around with (we don’t want to be overly chummy with the same folks we also review — gets awkward, etc). But that doesn’t mean we turn down every invitation that comes our way, and who could resist an invitation for a chef potluck at Dante de Magistris‘s house?
Especially when there were rumors of chicken-fried bacon.
Dante’s fab North End condo (with a great view of the Zakim bridge) filled up quickly with restaurant folks, media types, and friends, but a core group of chefs kept us well-fed through the night: Dante, of course; Jay Silva of Bambara; Anthony Caturano of Prezza; and Tony Susi of Sage. Jay turned out a soul-satisfying take on traditional pork n’ beans with braised pork shank and a pan of fatback-studded traditional Boston baked beans, rich with molasses and served with sweet brown bread. Tony’s risotto with robiola and braised veal was creamy, perfectly al dente, and beautifully seasoned. And Anthony served the most succulent bone-in pork loin.
At this point, I had to back away from the buffet table. Chowder has her (ahem) girlish figure to consider. But a cheer went up when Dante started turning out the chicken-fried bacon, and I couldn’t resist taking a bite. The meat came from a smokehouse in North Carolina and was thick and as smoky as a Virginia ham. Cloaked in a salty flour crust and flash fried, it was…a sin and a pleasure.
But I had reached my limit. I made a reluctant exit, wondering as I walked back to the car what kind of impromptu genius was next to delight the hard-core eaters.