Giulia’s Menu Has Been Usurped by the Rare Italian White Truffle
Step into Giulia right now, chef Michael Pagliarini’s standout Italian restaurant in Porter Square, and you’ll be greeted by an alluring aroma. The pungent odor, somewhere between warm hay and earthy hazelnuts, comes from freshly shaved white Alba truffles, easily the most prized fungi in the world.
After a recent trip to Alba’s 84th Annual Truffle Fair in Piedmont, the chef came back inspired. Pagliarini purchased a pound of foraged white truffles from Italy for a special menu at his restaurant, a haul valued at more than $3,000.
“I came back all energized with all sorts of ideas for Giulia,” Pagliarini says. “I was at the festival and the market, I was talking to the vendors about the product, I was in the trattorias at night, and for lunch and dinner I was eating all the truffle dishes I could get my hands on. What I was trying to do was gain an understanding and see the product at its source so I could compare it to what my purveyors are bringing me in Boston. Just seeing how they live with the truffles: how they eat them, cook them, sell them, and celebrate them was fascinating.”
Pagliarini’s new menu, which he hopes to run through December, includes classic pairings such as white truffles with sunny side up eggs (uova al tegamino) and tagliatelle in a butter and truffle melange (tagliatelle al burro) to dishes like Giulia’s Nantucket Bay scallop crudo, which he describes as “the best of New England meets Italian truffle season.”
In addition to the seven nightly specials, Pagliarini is offering white truffles a piacere, or “as you like it.” For $75, Giulia’s waitstaff will give any dish a tableside shaving of truffles. Or for a more affordable $25, they’ll sprinkle on Italian black winter truffles.
“Since we started doing this last week, we’ve running around the dining room, and up and down our bar with truffle shavers and the big bowls of truffles with glass covers on them,”Pagliarini says. “It’s a very fun, accessible way to experience the truffle. We’re not treating these with white gloves or in some rarefied way. Our $85 bowls of pasta would easily be over $125 in Manhattan. We’re just doing it to enhance the experience at Giulia. We have a small 70-seat restaurant, so once we start shaving those truffles, the whole room smells them. It’s intoxicating.”
Below is a look at Giulia’s special white truffle menu.
Celebrate Tartufo Bianco d’Alba
a piacere (add white truffles to any dish on our menu) $75
- warm semolina cakes – fontal, brown butter, prosciutto di parma ($25)
- burrata di puglia – truffle cream, bruschetta and arugula ($75)
- nantucket bay scallop ‘crudo’ – marinated mushrooms, olive oil and fresh lemon ($75)
- uova al tegamino – two sunny side up eggs ($65)
- heirloom pumpkin agnolotti – goat’s milk ricotta, pine nuts and brown butter ($95)
- tagliatelle al burro – sweet cream butter and parmigiano ($85)
- bone-in beef ribeye – butter, garlic, anchovy and fresh herbs ($125)
1682 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge; 617-441-2800 or giuliarestaurant.com.