Toast To Life At Porto
Vivo Chefs Table
By Peter & Mikeemail@example.com
Since opening at the end of
August, Porto Vivo (7 Gerard St., Huntington 631-385-8486
www.porto-vivo.com) has established itself as a deserving
contender on the Huntington hot list. Its stunning, multi-level
contemporary interior has made a former antiques warehouse
inviting. Able hands indeed, well qualified ones
in the kitchen, have made even discerning diners take notice.
And a host of celebrity sightings from Billy Joel to
Serena Williams to chef Todd English have made for
plenty of buzz. Heck, even the owners a celebrity of
sorts. Joy Mangano is a personality very familiar to fans
of the Home Shopping Network where her Huggable Hangers (250
million sold) and Miracle Mop are top sellers.
Now Porto Vivo co-owner Manganos Swiss-born,
European-kitchen-trained son-in-law, Philipp Seipelt
wants to showcase the restaurants impeccable kitchen
credentials. Toward that end, Seipelt recently hosted Chefs
Table, an intimate food and wine experience that gave
diners the ultimate insiders experience of Porto Vivo.
Although Porto Vivos rustic Italian menu is designed
to give guests freedom of economic choice (entrees range from
$14 to $48), the Chefs Table menu was pure luxe
a six-course parade that showcased the kitchens creativity.
The evening started in the restaurants cozy, bottle-lined
wine cellar, where more than a dozen guests sipped a light
Italian Pinot Grigio while Seipelt talked about the restaurant.
From there, the group moved upstairs to the kitchen. Its
a busy kitchen made lively by Executive Chef Steven Lecchi
barking out orders and staff ferrying dishes to the dining
room. Here, Lecchi and Consulting Chef John Doherty presented
the next course a warm roasted butternut squash flan
flavored with garlic and porcini mushroom, topped with tomato
and theatrically served in an eggshell from which guests scooped
the earthy treat with little spoons. The autumnal flavor was
enhanced with pumpkin ale from Southampton Brewery, and continued
with the second course: whole wheat linguine with roasted
chestnuts and ricotta salata shavings.
From there the group moved to the main dining room where Seipelt
oversaw the procession of dishes. A trio of appetizers featured
the best of the sea. Bay scallop crudo
some call it Italian sushi was a pleasant mingling
of scallopy sweetness and lemony acid, and baked razor clam
was an elegant twist on a restaurant standby. The star was
a single Blue Point Oyster topped with an icy pomegranate
granita, and all was complemented by a bit of bubbly: Freixenet
Cordon Negro Extra Dry from Spain.
Sea-spray cool turned to earthy warmth with the next course.
Goat cheese gnocchi in rich parmesan cream was a melt-in-your-mouth
(like marshmallows without the sweetness) treat made ever-so-much
richer with generous shavings of white truffle. The wine,
1992 Marchesi di Gresy Barbaresco from Piedmont, Italy, brought
a velvety and rich finish.
Finally, the meal moved to a full depth of flavor with coriander
and orange dusted venison tenderloin and braised venison short
ribs served with a 2004 Rockblock Syrah from Del Rio Vineyard
in Oregon. The venison was rich, not at all gamey; the wine
stood up to its bold flavors.
Dessert an aromatic apple parfait accompanied by apple
zeppole with cinnamon whipped cream continued the fall
theme, as did the accompanying Samuel Smiths organic
cider from England.
Whether it was the wine accompaniments that enhanced the meal
or the other way around, we were dazzled. The classically
trained Seipelt, who oversees the restaurants wine list,
said he would like to make the Chefs Table experience
including the kitchen courses available to patrons.
Pray he does and sign yourself up.