Where to Indulge in White Truffles around Boston This Winter
It's a particularly strong year for this Italian luxury product.
A bright spot of this otherwise dark time of year? White truffles. A Italian delicacy, these wild tubers are harvested annually from the northwestern region—they’re best known from Alba, Piedmont—and brought into restaurants around the world to add earthy extravagance to all sorts of dishes. The season starts in late October and typically extends to the new year, and per several knowledgeable Boston chefs, a rainy summer and relatively dry fall in Italy has yielded a generous crop of extra potent truffles this year. From truffle tasting menus at Menton, to a pop-up restaurant inside Eataly Boston, to an inexpensive supplement at Shōjō, here’s where to find white truffles in Boston this season.
Benedetto and Giulia
Fresh white truffles grace the current menu at chef Michael Pagliarini’s consistently perfect Giulia as shingles atop the veal crudo, and on the pillowy Macomber turnip anolini en brodo. At his larger, newer restaurant, Benedetto, they abound: Add seven grams to any dish for $95, or order from the white truffle menu, which features truffle-topped dishes like warm semolina cakes with stracciatella, crispy prosciutto, and squash crema; and grilled bone-in prime ribeye with black garlic bagna cauda. Make a Sunday night of it, when Benedetto breaks out special bottles of wine at great prices for Sunday Cellars.
Drink, Menton, and Sportello
Chef Barbara Lynch’s Congress Street restaurants are in the midst of Truffle Week 2018, which runs through Sunday, Nov. 11, with multi-course tasting menus and special dishes and drinks all using white Alba truffles. After this week, each spot (and Beacon Hill sister No. 9 Park) will continue to offer white truffle supplements with any dish as long as the season lasts.
Drink, 348 Congress St., Boston, 617-695-1806, drinkfortpoint.com; Menton, 354 Congress St., Boston, 617-737-0099, mentonboston.com; Sportello, 348 Congress St., Boston, 617-737-1234, sportelloboston.com.
A truffle-centric restaurant, il Tartufo e il Vino, pops up inside the Italian food emporium from November 8 until January (or when truffle season ends). Executive chef Sam de los Santos promises an approachable experience by educating diners on this prized Italian fungus. There are several osteria-style dishes on the menu to pair with Piemontese wines, and guests can also choose a truffle to buy for the whole table and have it shaved onto anything they want.
Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St., Boston, 617-807-7300, eataly.com.
Chef Charles Draghi’s family hails from Alba, so truffle season is personal at his Bay Village restaurant. His classic tajarin is back on the menu—an eggy tagliatelle pasta with a duck egg and white truffles shaved table-side. It’ll be available until the tubers are gone—and unfortunately, this is likely Erbaluce’s final truffle season. The restaurant is poised to close after New Year’s Eve. Luckily, it’s going out with a bang. “This year, [the truffles are] fantastic. You can smell them through the whole dining room,” Draghi says.
69 Church St., Boston, 617-426-6969, erbaluce-boston.com.
White truffles are an unexpected find at this Chinatown cocktail bar, but it’s true—and it’s also the best deal in town. Chef Mike Stark wants to keep the price low to give folks who otherwise wouldn’t indulge an opportunity to try them. For $12 per gram (or $6 per half-gram), add them to any dish on the menu; Stark recommends pairing them with the Miso Hungry noodles, a take on carbonara using miso butter.
9 Tyler St., Boston, 617-423-7888, shojoboston.com.
Chef Jamie Mammano’s Copley Square Italian spot has an eight-gram truffle supplement ($90) to add to any pasta dish.
1 Huntington Ave., Boston, 617-412-4600, sorellinaboston.com.
Along with a $75 supplement, chef Conor Dennehy is highlighting white Alba truffles in a Sparrow Arc Farm potato gnocchi dish available both a la carte or as a tasting-menu course.
377 Walden St., Cambridge, 617-714-5584, talullacambridge.com.
There’s a truffle pasta here, though it’s ramen noodles; chef Tony Messina is shaving white Alba truffles over a cacio e pepe-style bowl with miso butter and egg yolk. Other high-low, umami-filled creations include the hot dog risotto spoon (!), a bite of diced beef hot dog, Parmesan, pickled apple garnish, and shaved truffle ($35); and a steak-and-cheese steam bun with grilled ribeye and Cheese Whiz. Or, simply add white truffles to any dish for $85.
370A Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-536-7200, uni-boston.com.