I was a little worried that things were going a little too far when Chef Sidney told me the other day that we were going to have “nudies” as a special for lunch at the Downtown Club this Friday. But it turns out, I didn’t need to be concerned about scandal striking the Harvard Club. I was taking his pronunciation of the Italian term “gnudi” a little too literally.
What is a “gnudi” you ask? Some call it an inside out ravioli, a pasta treat without a pasta wrapper. It’s actually a variation on the concept of gnocchi. An Italian dumpling made with eggs, flour, cheese, and, if you choose, other fresh ingredients.
The bigger story here is not just that we had “gnudi”, but how they came to be at the Harvard Club. These little morsels weren’t frozen, or stored in a package. They were born, by hand, earlier in the morning on which they were served. Chef Sidney, with a nod to Chef Damien’s recipe and love of fresh pasta, held a clinic of sorts Friday morning, training the Downtown Club culinary team in the art of making fresh gnudi. But before they dove into that, the Chef taught them how to make fresh farmer’s cheese, which was a key ingredient in the gnudi.
While the Club has always tried to put forth the best possible food products, our new culinary team is adding a whole new dimension to our menus. Be it the fish tacos with a house made salsa or the grilled steak tips with a freshly made barbeque sauce, the team is stepping up their game to provide interesting and delicious new choices. More often than not, like the gnudi, these appear as daily specials. But the menus themselves will also be changing to incorporate more room for specials. Our chefs like to be able to react to what’s fresh and local and in season, and you’ll see that in our menus. And they will soon be introducing daily “Spa Special” meals that will be lighter on calories but still rich in taste and variety. Don’t worry, we’ll still have plenty of traditional club favorites. But the ingredients will be top quality and little extras will appear to replace the routine.
But back to those gnudi(s). I can’t tease you with all this talk about them and not share a picture, so I took the liberty of snapping this shot before I dove into my serving.
Those of you who are foodies might take a close look at the above picture and wonder what else was part of the presentation, so I’ll indulge you. The gnudi was mixed with sun-dried tomato, pancetta, arugula, shredded chicken, and a very light cream and stock sauce and topped with slivers of Grana Padano cheese. It rivaled lunch at the Piazza della Signoria in Florence.
Just a taste of many good things to come as our new culinary team raises all of our sights. If you haven’t had the chance, please click here to take a look at the new Grill Bar menu from the Main Clubhouse to get a sense of what’s new. But daily specials will continue to surprise, so treat yourself soon!