Last week, as I wrote here, James Beard award winner Paul Bartolotta of Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare hosted a small, privaet viewing party to celebrate his turn as guest judge on the show. At the end of the evening, I asked Bartolotta if he'd be creating a tasting menu and he said he doubted it because the challenge he had to judge involved the chef'testants doing some spin on TV dinners based on classic TV shows and, really, that isn't what he does.
Imagine my surprise, then, when today I learned that not only did Bartolotta create a Top Chef tasting menu but that, at $175 a head, it's already a fairly significant success. On Tuesday night, for instance, Bartolotta sold 40 of them or about 13 percent of the 300ish covers. "It's the most expensive menu I've ever merchandised," he told me today. "It just tells you the power of this show. People really want that experience."
Bartolotta said Wynn culinary PR queen Amy Rossetti had already nudged him to do something to extend the Top Chef moment. Then I asked him last week, so he conferred with his wife, who suggested he recreate the menu he whipped up for the Top Chef contestants, a meal seen and drooled over in living rooms across America during the episode.
You might be wondering what you get for $175, which is specifically branded the "Bravo Top Chef Menu" alongside the two other prix fixe meals he already offered. Here's the rundown:
frittura di paranz (assorted fried Mediterranean seafood)
aquadelle (fried tiny silver fish)
gamberi rossi (imperial red shrimp)
calamaretti (tiny baby calamari)
totoni (flying squid)
moleche (Soft shell crabs from the lagoon of Venice)
mazzancole (Caramotte prawns)
Antipasti di Mare
cicala imperiale alla griglia (grilled slipper lobster)
ricciola alla griglia di carbone con salsa acciughe (charcoal-grilled Sicilian amberjack with anchovy sauce)
saute di vongole (clams with tomato and white wine)
triglia alla Ponentina (Ligurian red mullet, Taggiasche olives, roasted peppers)
piovra alla Ligure (Ligurian octopus salad, olive oil, lemon)
risotto nero (seafood risotto with cuttlefish ink)
penne con ragu di crostacei (penne pasta, lobster, shrimp, langoustines, crab, white wine, tomato)
ravioli di ricotta con caciotta e agnolotti del plin (sheep’s milk ricotta ravioli, pecorino cheese, Marsala wine glaze and classic Piemontese meat ravioli)
Secondi di Mare
branzino in crosta di sale profumato (sea bass in aromatic salt crust with Sicilian citrus sauce)
Sinfonia di dessert
Assortment of plated desserts, gelati, granite and sorbetti
Yum, huh? Yes, extravagant, too. Even in their English translations, I have no idea what half of that is. But he's selling them like whatever hotcakes would be in Italian. Bartolotta figured he'd sell a few, a curiosity. He's as knocked over as anyone that people will/can pay that price in this economy.
These are great ways to tie in with the show. Congrats.