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Truffle Shuffle Season in Full $wing, With One Bargain in Queens

<p>It's white truffle season, and if you've got moneys, you can haz truffles. (Unless you go to Woodside, but more on that in a minute.) Two years ago, after Le Cirque owner Sirio Maccioni paid $7,000 for a giant Alba White Truffle, <a href="http://gothamist.com/2007/10/20/no_such_thing_a.php">his son Mauro got us hooked</a> by shaving profligate piles of truffle onto plates of pasta and scrambled eggs. This year, midtown Italian restaurant <a href="http://bottegadelvinonyc.com">Bottega Del Vino</a> generously enabled us, with their new menu loaded with truffles.</p><p></p>Truffles are costly, there's no way around it (except, again, to schlep to Queens), but Bottega offers a reasonably-priced lunch serving of Tartina al Tartufo d’Alba for $35; that's an open-faced tartine with fontina and white truffle. During dinner service, the warm and colorful restaurant—wood columns and marble imported from Italy, crystal from the owner's glass company—fills up with tourists, truffle-addicts, and the occasional Trump. This used to be the Playboy Club, after all.<p></p>The house made Tagliolini al Tartufo d’Alba will make you feel like you've died and gone to heaven, and hopefully you still have your wallet when you fall back to earth ($105). There are plenty of other non-truffle options on the menu; also excellent is the grapefruit marinated Salmon carpaccio, served with fennel ($18). The wine list is mostly Italian and massive; the restaurant has 3,000 bottles in the leather-floored cellar—feel free to snoop around on your way to the restroom, but during our visit the cases were tightly locked.<em> 79 East 59th Street, corner of Fifth; (212) 223-2724</em>


<p>Meanwhile, in Woodside, the Italian food-importer and trattoria <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sapori-DIschia-Restaurant/166662166521#">Sapori D'Ischia</a> is in the midst of their annual $50 three-course white-truffle menu. It's that cheap because the owners bypass the middleman and buy from the source, but it's only offered on Tuesday nights through the beginning of December. <a href="http://www.winedanddined.com/2009/10/white-truffles-for-the-masses-at-sapori-dischia/">Bloggers Wined &amp; Dined</a> were impressed by a recent visit, and report that "for the price point, you really can’t go wrong. Quality Italian food, beautiful truffle essence with real white truffle shavings." The owners strongly suggest making reservations at (718) 446-1500. <em>55-15 37th Avenue, Woodside, Queens</em></p>


<p>At Marea, the <a href="http://events.nytimes.com/2009/10/21/dining/reviews/21rest.html">recently three-starred</a> seafood/pasta restaurant from <a href="http://gothamist.com/2008/08/13/chef_michael_white_convivio.php">acclaimed Italian chef Michael White</a>, they're now offering a slow poached egg, marsala ragu, and polenta crema with shaved white truffle. It costs $95-$110, depending on the market. But this is Michael White, so at least you know you'll get your money's worth, and <a href="http://gothamist.com/2009/05/20/restaurant_marea_opens_after_1001_p.php">Marea strikes a harmonious balance</a> between elegant and relaxed dining. <em>240 Central Park South between Broadway and 7th Avenue</em></p>



<p>Let's face it, if you've got the money to eat at <a href="http://www.giltnewyork">Gilt</a>, you won't think twice about throwing down an extra $50 for white truffles. We're told Chef Justin Bogle is "extremely selective" when sourcing truffles will only offer them on the menu when he finds extremely high quality. Last week he finally found some that were up to snuff and offered a Feather Ridge Farm Egg with Creamy Polenta, Porcini, Figs and Balsamic served with shaved white truffles. We haven't tried it, so we'll have to <a href="http://gothamist.com/2007/12/05/reality_imitate.php">tune into <em>Gossip Girl</em></a> to see if it makes a cameo. <em>455 Madison Avenue</em></p>


<p>Chef Scott Conant's Italian restaurant <a href="http://www.scarpettanyc.com">Scarpetta</a>, our favorite at the moment, is now offering a special of White Alba Truffles on Fresh Tagliatelle pasta with butter for $120. Or you can save a few bucks and just have them shave truffles on recommended dishes (i.e. Polenta, Agnolotti) for $100. And if you really want to go for it, $225 gets you a six course dinner with shaved white Alba truffles on every savory dish. The feast begins with Egg Custard, then progresses to Roasted Sea Scallops with sunchokes &amp; mushrooms, Tagliatelle, Risotto, Slow roasted Sirloin of Beef with with shaved parmigiano, and the chef's selection of desserts. (For an extra $75, add a wine pairing for each course.) <em>355 West 14th Street at Ninth Avenue</em></p>


<p>At <a href="http://gothamist.com/2009/10/18/david_burke_townhouse_settling_in_a.php">David Burke Townhouse</a>, chef David Burke &amp; executive chef Sylvain Delpique are currently offering a white truffle spaghetti carbonara special with bacon, English peas and sundried tomato. The appetizer portion is $48 and the main course is $96. Guests also have the option of adding white truffles from Alba to any dish for $48. <em>(133 East 61st Street between Park &amp; Lexington Avenues; 212.813.2121</em></p>



<p>Finally, Tom Colicchio's <a href="http://www.craftrestaurant.com/">Craft</a> is serving white truffle scrambled farm eggs with duck ragout &amp; brioche for $92. Here you can add truffles (depending on the season) to any of their dishes at a supplemental cost. <em>43 East 19th Street; (212) 780-0880</em></p>