Ranch & Coast Magazine

February 2023

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Page 51 of 91

e latter of the two-part moniker references Salmoiraghi's bestarred restaurant in Milan, Italy, Ristorante Acquerello, which Salmoiraghi still helms. How can he be in two places at once? He can't. Which is why he, chef-partner Choi Cheolhyeok, and two other members of their culinary staff strategically rotate between Italy and La Jolla. In doing so, they not only provide kitchen coverage and direction, but also weave their personalities and backgrounds into dishes that range from traditional to whimsical to adventurous. While Semola's menu was lengthy and packed with solid dishes blending modern gastronomy with mainstay Italian flavors, roughly 90 percent of its patrons opted instead for the eatery's nightly multi-course prix-fixe tasting menu. is format is now the primary option at Ambrogio, which presents a pair of tasting menus — "Dancing with the Stars" (omnivore, $149 per person) and "A Walk in the Garden" (vegetarian, $99) — that change with each coming season. Dishes vary to different degrees across the two menus, but each draws inspiration from France, Korea, Japan, California, and, of course, Italy, which serves as the gastronomic guidepost, a true north to follow while taking side jaunts to the other four locales, foraging for ingredients to bring back to the coursed-out caravan. An opening dish called Mare e Monti presents the sea (mare) in the form of seabass ceviche and mountains (monti) made up of wispily crisped cauliflower mushroom. A bounty of accoutrements for those cornerstones — unctuous sea urchin, tart finger limes, earthy avocado crema — marry so well together that it would be tempting to toss this composed salad, but Salmoiraghi advises diners to sample different component combinations in each bite to benefit from a diverse tasting experience. Stravaganza Mediterranea, a signature dish from Acquerello, bats in the two spot, providing another mix-and-match experience, this time with fatty cubes of tuna and tempura-fried calamari dressed with matcha powder, apple vinegar gelee, and zesty tomato sauce. (Pro tip: Any Ambrogio dish featuring the latter condimento is a winner.) It precedes the most fun plate of the evening, "Omelette Surprise," a perfect circle of 65-degree, runny-yolk egg covering a treasure trove of go-withs that are not disclosed to diners until after they've been consumed. ose mystery flavors run the gamut from sweet to acidic, salty to spicy, and make for a most enjoyable guessing game. Spoiler alert! Consuming individual slices from the "omelet" provides hits of an earthily sweet sunchoke puree along with a one-at-a-time progression of salty pecorino and goat cheeses, capers, wasabi, lemon curd, pear sorbet, and vodka jelly. Indulge dining LEFT Omelette Surprise BELOW Ambrogio by Acquerello Chef-Partner Choi Cheolhyeok << ranchandcoast.com 52 FEBRUARY 2023 RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE

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