Cracked Wheat Semolina Sourdough and Sesame Pain au Cereal
Lemon and Basil Ricotta Agnolotti with Smashed Tomato and Bread Crust
Fig and Salami Risotto with Cured Lemon and Toasted Pistachio
Bunch of Grapes – Pizzutella Grape Sorbet, Concord Grape Pudding, Yogurt Cake, Rice and Corn Biscuit, Cider Jelly
Hearth’s Dessert – Black Chickpea Ganache, Candied Chickpeas, Zucchini Blossom Sorbet, Almond Shortbread, Black Truffle Pearls
Etigua Espresso with Meringue, Biscotti, Cookies
Described as a “Neo-Bistro” since its 2009 opening and challenging the concepts of what constitutes a Michelin starred Italian restaurant by way of its informal approach to Slow Food ideals and sustainability, Ratana is located amidst the slowly rejuvenating remains of Porta Garibaldi in Milan, the former storage space said by some to be turning out some of the city’s most interesting and inspired plates.
Eschewing white tablecloths and Tuxedoed service, a team of women in jeans and hirsuit young men bustling around for patrons wearing everything from t-shirts to three-piece suits, entry to Ratana sees patrons face-to-face with a scene more Venice California than the one a couple hours eastward, a tight bar and high ceilings reverberating overhead modern music with a dining room decorated in wood sporting closely packed tables.
Having made reservations, but treated as a walk-in with a two-top at the room’s center soon mine for the duration of a ninety minute stay, it was from a menu that changes daily in hand that options were deliberated, an original request for three plates deemed to be “too much” by one man, the housemade Headcheese reluctantly omitted and instead replaced by a duo of desserts.
More than a little impressed by the warm bag of Bread, both Sourdough and Sesame options warm and robust with a dense crumb, course one saw the kitchen send forth creamy pockets of Pasta stuffed with Citrus-scented Ricotta, the Tomato enhanced by a touch of smoke with texture added by toasted Bread Crust, the follow-up Risotto making sense of the server’s comments regarding portion, though the complex mélange of sweet, salty and sour with crunchy Pistachios was so varied and beautiful that the deep bowl in no way seemed to be “too much.”
Unable to decide on just one dessert, all five offered actually sounding quite great, it was after much indecision that the two most intriguing compositions were optioned for, a pull of Single Origin Espresso pairing well with the flavor of Grapes and Cider but even better with the inspired Vegan-Friendly spread of subtly sweetened Chickpeas and Zucchini Blossom with a nose of Black Truffles and crumbled Shortbread.