Having only visited Caruso's Ristorante once before to ring in a New Year, I suggested a return visit to a journalist who writes for the Handelsblatt, the German equivelant of the Wall Street Journal.
While awaitng our table an apertif was suggested in the adjacent Bar Rouge. The size of a walk in closet; the mini bar and ample private chefs table boasts an impeccable selection of hand-crafted single malts, grappas and cognacs.
For the multi-course meal to follow expectations may be kept exceedingly high. The proficient waitstaff, donned in starchy white shirts and floor length aprons, is at the ready to serve a superlative selection of authentic Italian dishes paired with an inventive wine and prosecco list provided by Fabio of Tuscany Distributors.
The menu selections are predicated on seasonal availability and represent a vast variety of distinct Italian regions. Each dish is impeccably crafted on the spot and is consistently spot on. On this particular night the Farrotto with fresh Porcini was redolent with black truffles enough to make one swoon. With offerings from Milano to Molise the au courant guests dip and dive while sopping up the last morsels of marrow spooned from the Ossobuco alla Milanese con Risotto alo Zafferano. Talk about signature dishes.
Caruso’s is an ‘insiders’ place that wishes to remain decidedly under the hoi polli’s heat seeking radar. Signage at Carusos would be redundant. This is a destination restaurant, no GPS required. Guests gravitate to Carusos by way of global word-of-mouth. For example, one regular is the founder of Arizona Iced Tea. He mentions the place to a CEO golf buddy whose friend, L’Pro Eddie Merrins happens to be in from Bel Air to be inducted in the PGA Hall of Fame. Whether in from Bel Air, Manhattan, Rome or Aspen, “Check out Carusos Ristorante in Boca” is a constant refraim among those in the know.
In an intimate room that seats 45 guests, the commraderie is palatable. Gina Caruso , a northern Italian beauty, by way of Chicago, takes strident steps to work the room like a seasoned maestro. She is donned in a form fitting Pucci dress with deep green eyes to match. She keeps her guests enthralled with an expression so attentive that one would believe they are her reason for living.
The coming and going of gourmands, foodies, scions, luminaries and movie producers could easily fill a page in Vanity Fair. As the night gained momentum the dinner parties became a bit more boisterous. A steady stream of new arrivals became instant members of an extended family that harkens back to the mid last century when Gina's grandfather founded the original Caruso's in Chicago.
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