Tasso Rolls Out New Supper Club 

click to enlarge Gino Pilato of Amico Gino pours wine at Tasso.

Harrison Berry

Gino Pilato of Amico Gino pours wine at Tasso.

"Tasso" may a pork-specific term, but at the BoDo sandwich shop of the same name on Sept. 21, duck was the star of the show.

The shop is rolling out a monthly supper club that pairs Tasso's ambitious and talented kitchen with an Italian language and wine pop-up class service, Amico Gino. Tickets to the mid-September dinner, which ran at $70, included a four-course duck-themed Italian meal and generous helpings of wine. Tickets to future dinners can be found on the events page on the Tasso website.

click to enlarge - The dry-aged duck fennel salad -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • The dry-aged duck fennel salad
In Tasso's main dining area, staff had set up a long communal table where no two place settings were alike, accompanied by vases stuffed with thin twists of flaky bread, dishes of salt and pepper, and small bowls of olives for appetizers. At each seat was a prix fixe menu, a wine catalog and a nametag, and diners were encouraged to assume Italian names for the evening. This reporter's was "Giacomo."

More than a dozen people attended the dinner. One was the hairdresser roommate of one of the kitchen staff; others included a small party celebrating the upcoming nuptials of a magistrate judge. After a slight delay, Tasso Co-owner Dan Carruthers announced the arrival of the first course: dry-aged duck fennel salad.

click to enlarge - Burrata toast with smoked duck ham -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Burrata toast with smoked duck ham
"What makes us different is we make everything here," Carruthers said.

The fennel was crunchy and bathed in a faintly oily coriander vinaigrette. A few slices of marinated orange tempered the salty kick of duck prosciutto, and everyone washed it down with plenty of Adami "Garbel" Prosecco.

Before the second course, Gino Pilato of Amico Gino offered a crash course in Italian—"Come ti chiami? Mi chiamo Giacomo."—while he poured glasses of Badia a'Coltibuono Chianti Classico. Servers filed out of the kitchen holding plates of buttered toast dolloped with burrata, laid over slices of smoked duck ham and drizzled with mustard sauce.

click to enlarge - The main course: duck sugo gnocchi -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • The main course: duck sugo gnocchi
Finally came the main course, a duck sugo gnocchi with slow-cooked duck in a tomato sugo, topped with cilantro and shavings from a block of pecorino—an especially salty, crumbly goat cheese that was once a staple of the diet of Roman legionaries. The flavors were powerful. The 2015 Scaia Rosso poured by Pilato was bold and fortifying, and the gnocchi, with its smooth exterior and starchy core, was a treat.

click to enlarge - Dessert was coffee gelato served with figs, cherries and a cookie -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Dessert was coffee gelato served with figs, cherries and a cookie
After a pause for conversation came dessert, a scoop of coffee gelato, a pizzelle dusted with confectioner's sugar and a melange of figs and cherries topped with sweet cream sauce. Pilato complemented it with Vietti Barbera d'Asti Tre Vigne.

Carruthers later characterized the dinner, which took place just days before the autumnal equinox, as "launching fall."

"It's when the best flavors are coming out," he said, noting that duck is traditionally harvested in the fall, and adding that it has a special place in his heart. "Duck is my favorite food."
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