The name says it all: Roberto Donna cooks dinner for a mere four diners at a kitchen counter at this restaurant-within-a-restaurant inside Al Dente. The performance starts with a saucer-size pizza presented in a tiny white box, whose quail egg- and truffle-topped contents summon Italy’s Piedmont over Papa John’s. The kicks continue with a cloche filled with smoke that clears to reveal a beautiful lamb tongue salad; an egg shell whose hollow brims with creamy scrambled eggs flavored with porcini mushrooms; and a Parmesan-dusted raviolo containing a liquid center of olive oil.
Plan to linger several hours; it takes time to serve and savor 20 courses of food that revive the Italian chef’s glory days at the late, four-star Laboratorio del Galileo downtown but also reflect modern culinary techniques. Also, come with an open mind and a good appetite. There are likely to be cockscombs and Rocky Mountain oysters sprinkled throughout the night, and five lovely desserts before the check.
No matter how sated I am, however, I can never say “no, grazie” to caramel panna cotta or a tier of hot sugared doughnuts dipped in glossy chocolate.