Nancy Grimaldi and her husband, Frank, have been operating San Marco Ristorante, a fine dining Italian restaurant, since 1984. That’s about a century in restaurant years, even if it’s just 29 by the civilian calendar.
At San Marco (2082 Kensington Ave., Amherst), Nancy’s the chef, and Frank takes care of the other stuff. Their specialty is northern Italian, more cream sauces, truffles and game than the tomato sauce dominated southern Italian, Frank Grimaldi said.
One of the longstanding favorites on the menu is a Tuscan inspired dish called “Cinghiale alle Brace,” or grilled wild boar tenderloin. “The boar we get is from Texas, but the preparation is Tuscan,” he said. “It used to be seasonal, only during the winter. Now we have it on the menu the whole year round – it’s wild boar during the winter, and farm-raised boar the rest of the year.”
It’s a lot like pork tenderloin, but the flavor is different. “It’s a little gamier,” he said. “It works for people who want to try game but don’t like the gamy taste.”
In the kitchen, Chef Nancy Grimaldi marinates it in extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, herbs like rosemary and thyme, and juniper berries. What the marination does is disguise most of the gaminess. The result, she said, is like tenderloin but with a little more flavor.
She sears the meat, then finishes it on the grill. When it’s ready, she cuts the meat into medallions and arranges it over mushroom risotto, with roasted potatoes and vegetable of the day. The sauce is a Barolo red wine reduction fortified with pan juices and dried cherries. The cost is $27.
It’s the kind of dish that the adventurous person at the table orders, she said, and before the party is done eating, other guests are trying to steal bites.
“It definitely sells,” she said. “If we took it off the menu, it’d be missed.”
For information, visit www.sanmarcobuffalony.com or call 839-3876
Old Falls Street Oktoberfest.
Happens from 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday on Old Falls Street, Niagara Falls. Traditional German food like schnitzel and bratwurst, beer, root beer and pretzels for children, plus music from German American Musicians, the Bergholz German Band and the Alphorn Society of Western New York.