Visited in April 2023
Rating: One Michelin Macaron, green star
A weekend trip to Italy opened the possibility of a visit to this restaurant. It is located on the way up in a small village in Valpantena Valley, the middle valley of the three in Valpolicella, the home of Recioto and Amarone. The restaurant holds, in addition to the Macaron, a green “star” for sustainability. If I see this, sometimes I am a little concerned that it becomes dogmatic, which is not always positive for taste. However, you have to try before you judge. The restaurant is part of a renovated setting, including a hotel in an old villa and has a nice window front with a marvelous view over the valley.
I was placed at the kitchen counter and could observe the activities in the open kitchen. The menu offers three different options, a meat-based, a fish and seafood based, and a surprise menu, which should present the strength and philosophy of the restaurant. As far as I could see from which was prepared at the pass, only two of the twenty-six guests this evening decided on meat. The rest had fish and seafood. So did I.
I ordered an alcohol-free cocktail for the start and asked for a chilled Corvina wine by the glass. The Corvina grape is the essence of the terroir in Valpolicella and is a well-suited red wine accompanying fish and seafood, especially when chilled. If you study the wine menu, you do not find a pure Corvina, but the sommelier has additional wine in the wine showroom, which is located in the back of the restaurant. It was an organic 2021 Macro Mosconi Rosso Verona IGT.
The cocktail was served without any explanation what it was. A small snack came with it.
Elder gel between two nice almond chips and black bean crème on top. A good start.
Black meringue with cauliflower cream and black truffle
Black sesame cracker with flamed eel and marjoram
Red beet chips with chicken liver mousse and goat cheese cream
Candied olive filled with peanut cream and olive gel
Our leavened products
The radish was elaborated as a kind of dark chutney not really visible in the photo behind the sandwich. The sandwich tasted very well, could stand alone without the other components, and I wished I could have one more…
Lukewarm served seafood and garden salad made of yellow tail, parsley cream, shrimp, carrot, clam, olive, and squid, to name a few ingredients. Tomato dust as an additional element was placed on the plate in a pattern that reminded of ears of wheat. Very well composed and served at the right temperature. Simply the best seafood salad I ever had.
7 minutes cooked whole grain spaghetti with wild asparagus at the bottom of the plate, added shrimp to the sauce, and licorice powder on top. A very nice pasta dish with a lot of umami taste.
A potpourri of animals from the Venetian lagoon at the bottom was covered with a risotto, the rice of which from the Isola della Scala was cooked for eight and a half minutes. To the rice a fish named Go was added and it was finished with some lemon. I do not remember what kind of leaves were sticking in the risotto.
As a palate neutralizer on a spoon, olive ice cream on an apple brunoise with olive oil and parmesan chip was served. A very nice combination. Acidity from the apples, typical olive taste and saltiness and umami from the parmesan.
Herbal sweet onion purree on the right side, dark green tarragon foam, saffron sauce in the middle added at the table, flaxseed cracker and a perfectly cooked high quality piece of amberjack, glassy in the core.
Waiting for dessert
Cream and chip of lentils, butter cream and ice cream, Szechuan pepper sauce
White chocolate mousse, black berries and their sauce, meringue powder, mint leafs, violet (ger: Veilchen) ice cream, rose water leaf
Sweet-UP! & Vine-UP!
Milk mousse, meringue from dried grapes, candied corn biscuit,
chocolate praline filled with cherry, red wine reduction
Pop-up card with sweets
Tartelette with pear caviar
Jasmin biscuit – the best of the four
Olive oil cream praline
Glass with three layers: Caramel, cherry and peanut cream. Quite dominant peanut taste which unfortunately overpowered the other components.
Strictly speaking, I had a sandwich, a salad, pasta, risotto, a fish course, and dessert. This could be the sequence of courses in a “normal” Italian restaurant. At the same time, it represents the culinary identity of Italian cuisine. But it was so much more. All the dishes were elevated to the next level. And all tasted well. No dogmatism at all. This restaurant is well worth another visit.
Website of the restaurant: Ristorante la Cru – a Romagnano di Grezzana