it’s a secret

Do you regularly eat at a restaurant with a secret menu?  I mean, everyone knows you can get a butterbeer latte at Starbucks and a double double animal style at In and Out, right?   I bet when it comes down to it every restaurant has an item(s) that were on the menu once or dreamed up on a slow day by an enterprising team member that has now gained a (cult) following. We had plans to head out for my birthday dinner a few weeks before the ‘big’ day.  A couple of days before that event I got an email from The Ravenous Pig.  It said, we have a secret menu for three days a week this summer-from Tuesday to Thursday with 48 hours notice you too can get the super secret Summer Bistro menu.  I figured why not and booked a table there.  So, now, in a grand tradition, I have begun to stretch out my celebrations of yet another birthday to multiple days and events.  We went to the restaurant expecting only a 48 hour preparation of short ribs.  I mean, honestly.  We were quickly seated at a nice window table where we had a view of the room and the rain slatting down outside.secretmenu

A gin & jam was quickly deposited for me that had a fresh preparation of nectarine jam & basil.  It was so fresh and clean tasting.  Not a bit too sweet and just right.  They brought a slip of paper folded up with a pig stamped on the front that had the ‘secret’ menu on the insides.  A frisee salad-briny with salt and lard. I’m sure there was no dressing at all-just this briny weedy salad with a swirl of pomegranate vinaigrette, huge lardons of bacon and pistachio nuts folded into the mound.  It was confusingly delicious.  If I could duplicate that secret I would.  It was followed up by the entree.  A small slab of perfectly glazed short rib perched on a swooshy mousselline potatoes, trumpet mushrooms (kinda chewy) and lightly sweet bright onion marmalade. I’m not sure marmalade shouldn’t be reserved for citrus but it was sweet against the rich potatoes and beef.  The finish was a nectarine-blueberry crisp which felt too rustic against the refined meal but tasted homey with it’s small scoop of toffee ice cream.  I was actually happier with the tiny shortbread cookies filled with dulce de leche that they finished our meal with and could have been perfectly happy with just that.  So, it was all a ‘secret’ – only available to those who knew to ask in advance.  Do I feel better for it?  I’m not sure.  That’s why I’m sharing it with you.   The secret menu isn’t posted anyplace and costs about $36 per person.  Give them a call and I’m sure they’ll oblige you.  What about you?  Do you know of a secret at a restaurant that is just begging to be shared?

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