Is it possible to go to a starred restaurant, eat a plate of pasta with tomato sauce and a cutlet and leave happy? Yes, you really can. They may be flavors that remind you of your childhood but if they are perfect, they become absolutely flawless! The environment at Ristorante Berton is serious, clean, essential. Perfectly fitting into the context of the new Varese-type places, it’s really hard to make out which European metropolis you’re in at that moment.
As we arrive we are greeted by an inviting entrée from the kitchen. A sphere of tzatziki, to eat in one bite, a tomato bread of a spongey consistency with little spheres of ice cream on top and a bite sized cheese on a bed of seeds. Tasty and fun.
In the mean time I read and reread the menu and the waiter brings a gigantic hourglass of yellow powder. Each table has one, all different colors. Because the chef really wants the experience offered to fit in the turn of an hourglass. Not that the client should expect too much or too little, in other words.
The menu is rich at Berton’s, the business lunch is remarkable and well presented. But I had read about this new recipe, a pasta with tomato sauce revisited, warm, on a bed of Taggiasco olive patè. I won’t be tempted by anything else. The aroma is heavenly. The flavor of the baby plum tomato is at the umpteenth power. I don’t need to put parmesan cheese on top. This dish is perfect as is.
Meanwhile the business lunch arrives for my companions, composed of fish antipasto (knowingly roasted sepia and squid) a first course (lemon and clam risotto) and two second courses (grilled cod with rhubarb spheres and fish mayonnaise and a roast chicken with onions).
My second course arrives also: Milanese steak, iceberg lettuce heart, semi hard grains of balsamic vinegar, baby herbs and Grana Padano… the cutlet is tall, tender and rosy in the middle. The top! This is the real Milanese steak that all too often is missing in restaurants. All refreshed by a heavenly Casteggio Merlot.
Dessert? I see a basket of soft fiordilatte with a hot chocolate soufflé, but the wait for this dessert (about 25 minutes) keeps me from ordering it. I tell the waiter the all I really wanted was chocolate and that “no, it doesn’t matter I’m fine”.
When the dessert from the menu arrives (a hazelnut mousse, with little balls of ice cream and some sort of torrone), the waiter brings me a black bar… it’s puffed chocolate with little balls of mint and licorice ice cream on top. Exquisite and a very kind idea.
How can you resist trying Ristorante Berton already?