Last Sunday (November 14, 2009), Dante in Cambridge held a "Ravioli Rumble" where local Boston chefs competed to create the best gourmet ravioli dish. For only $20 a person, we sampled unlimited amounts of raviolis made by some top chefs in Boston. We then all voted for our favorites.
The following 5 descriptions refer to the picture above
This "ravioli" tasted basically like a badly made Chinese dumpling with Chinese BBQ roasted pork (char siu) inside. You could taste the fatty bits of pork, which was a bit distracting. The skin was also thick and unrefined. Not a good way to start this tasting.
I think Will Gilson is a fantastic cook, but I think this was a fail. The kimchi soup was relatively bland, and the pork belly dumpling was ordinary. I know Will can make excellent pasta dishes, so I'm not sure what happened here. Perhaps because I am Chinese, my dumpling standards are higher than average. I still have not found anything in Boston that comes close to my favorite dumpling place in the world.
I found this ravioli to be way to salty, and thus not enjoyable at all. I was starting to wonder whether this meal would be worth the $20 I spent on it.
Finally! Something that tastes good! This dessert "ravioli" was pretty tasty, although it's hard to imagine any deep fried chocolate ricotta dumpling tasting bad. Several members of my party wished it had more chocolate. I thought it was good, but not particularly creative. In response Bryan said, "when have you ever seen a chocolate ricotta ravioli?"
This ravioli was really delicious with an excellent blend of flavors. The deep, rich flavors from the lamb, the sweet raisins, and the really fragrant olive oil came together really nicely.
This was an interesting creative idea - they decided to put a T.V. dinner inside of a fried ravioli. I thought this dish was quite greasy, but one member of my party really liked the unique fried shell, and went back for seconds.
This was DELICIOUS, and I almost voted for it as the winner. The texture was really unique. It was soft, chewy, sweet . . . really good. The entire ravioli had an unique chewy texture that was almost like soft mochi, which I love. The ravioli was served in a sweet cream sauce. I loved it and I went back for seconds. Hmmmm . . I wonder if he serves this in his restaurant. . ..
Anthony Caturano, Prezza - meat ravioli with brown butter and black truffle
Another one of my favorites - anything with truffle is already going to be pretty tasty. In this case, the ravioli, which was filled with a tasty meat sauce, was solid. Of course, the truffle added a nice earthiness to the dish and made the dish even better.
I was really impressed with the texture of the ravioli "skin". In terms of texture, it was definitely one of the best, with that chewiness that can only come from fresh homemade pasta. Unfortunately, the filling was only OK, and thus he did not get my vote.
Again, this dish was fine, but did not wow me in any way, and thus was hardly memorable.
I thought this ravioli was too sweet and could have used a bit more saltiness from the duck.
The Final Verdict
So which one did I vote for? I really liked the raviolis from Anthony Caturano (Prezza), Colin Lynch/Ralph Fiegel (Barbara Lynch Gruppo), and Rodney Murillo (Avila). In the end, it was a toss up between Lynch and Murillo, but I ended up choosing Lynch because I thought the flavors were a bit more complex.
And who won? Well, I'm not positive, since I did not stay until the end, but from my brief research on the internet, it appears that Anthony Caturano (Prezza), Colin Lynch/Ralph Fiegel (Barbara Lynch Gruppo and Andy Husbands/Isadora Sarto (Tremont 647) won. I guess I'm not surprised at the first two (I almost voted for them myself), but I thought Tremont 647 was wayyy too salty.
Heh heh, oh well, it was fun, and definitely a fun, cheap way to try a lot of different raviolis in a nice, outdoor setting. (Did I mention the weather was unseasonably warm that day? It was great!)
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