Pet Peeve time.
When did every upscale Strip restaurant decide it was a good idea to shave raw black truffles on top of things?
Black truffles — the good melanosporum ones from the Perigord region of France — are best when cooked in dishes.
White truffles release their full bouquet when raw. Black when cooked (being less pungent, black needs heat to fully release its aroma).
And it doesn’t add much to a dish, except pretension.
And it really didn’t add anything to an otherwise excellent Alsatian tart flambee.
They don’t do this in France, and they shouldn’t do it here. But we swear to god we’ve had the big black truffle shower bestowed upon us at least ten times in the last few months…all to zero effect, except that the restaurant staff(s) (at Jean-George Steakhouse, Sirio, and Sage just to name a few) thought they were impressing us.
But they were only impressing two things upon us: 1) they’re getting inferior truffles cheap; and 2) they think ELV was born yesterday.
Memo to all pretentious restaurants on the Las Vegas Strip: Stop shaving raw black truffles entirely, or learn how to use them for taste, not affectation.
Of course, actually incorporating them into a recipe coming off a kitchen line would be time consuming and very expensive. It’s so much easier to show off by selectively bringing them to certain, anointed tables and making an elaborate presentation of something that, in the end, brings precious little to the party.
Btw: the staff at Spago (whom we otherwise hold in great respect) told us the truffles were from Burgundy(?), which further made us doubt the tuber’s authenticity and functionality. It did smell of truffle, but not enough to make a difference when tasted raw on anything.
Btw #2: The choucroute and the lamb gyro (made with a freshly butchered lamb from Pahrump (Nevada, not France), were both drop dead delicious.