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Fungilicious

A truffle is a terrible thing to waste. White truffles, the early fall ones from Alba, sure: Pay two hundred clams, shave it over some tagliatelle, done. You’d have to be a dunce to ruin a white truffle, which is pungent enough to stop traffic at the distance of a quarter mile. But the subtler, more wonderful black truffle is a different story. If a white truffle is sweaty summer-afternoon sex, a black truffle is secret, nuanced, powerful, something that lasts three hours and leaves you wobbly in the knees. With black truffles, you need an artist, somebody like Bistro K’s Laurent Quenioux, a chef who can take a multicourse truffle menu and make it last all night: truffled game consommé garnished with a single, loose quenelle of chopped hare and a few croutons fashioned from its blood; a frigid blast of cucumber jelly with truffled cream; a truffled poached egg with coins of spicy Spanish chorizo; a single, trembling slice of truffled suckling-pig terrine. A tiny truffled panna cotta stands in for the bloom of an extremely fragrant flower, a chive for the stem, a puddle of sabayon, scented with truffle and almond/vanilla-like tonka beans for leaves, a composition of sweet dairy and truffly stink. Crisp-skinned truffled wood pigeon with huckleberries. A nontruffled dessert. Quenioux is continuing his sub rosa tasting menu for as long as the truffles hold out. Reserve at least a couple of days in advance, and bring your best bottle of wine — the restaurant is still BYOB. 1000 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena. (626) 799-5052.

—Jonathan Gold


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