I spent last Friday evening at one of Des Moines’ most popular restaurants, Centro, for their Friuli Regional Italian Dinner. The event was the first of three in a spring dinner series from Executive Chef Derek Eidson, this one inspired by Italy’s Triveneto region.
The event, which was sold out, was $60/person and included six small courses (see below) and reception wine.
Executive Chef Eidson kicked off the evening with a brief summary of the Triveneto region and the foods and wines that would be served, while guests enjoyed bread and a beautiful charcuterie plate which included prosciutto, regional cheese and olives.
The Triveneto region of Italy is bordered by Austria and Slovenia, and is known for its close ties with the German and Slavic worlds, which heavily influences the area’s cuisine and wine. The menu included:
FIRST: Frico / Fried cheese and potato pancake
SECOND: Jota / Bean and sauerkraut soup
THIRD: Cjalsons / Sweet and savory filled ravioli with cinnamon and smoked ricotta
FOURTH: Coniglio in salmi / Stewed rabbit with polenta
FIFTH: Contorni / Rapa dolce (sweet turnips, poppy seeds)
SIXTH: Presniz / Walnut and raisin strudel
The food was especially flavorful, and each course was served with attention to detail. While I personally favor the food of other Italian regions over Triveneto, I enjoyed tasting each course; the clear favorites being the potato pancake, ravioli with cinnamon and ricotta, and turnips.
In terms of wine, the region is better known for their white wines, and a handful of selections of those, as well as a red option, were available for purchase. I tried the Prodigo Sauvignon Blanc Friuli Grave and Jermann Pinot Grigio Venezia Giulia and enjoyed both.
Centro has a great urban, yet comfortable and relaxed, vibe and this event reflected that.
The dinner was held in Centro’s banquet room. Upon arrival, you were checked in and given a welcome glass of sparkling wine to enjoy while mingling with other dinner guests. The guests represented an eclectic mix of interests and age ranges.
In the banquet room, everyone seemed to enjoy conversing with others at their respective tables, sharing their thoughts on each course and the wines paired with them, and the relaxed atmosphere overall.
Centro owner George Formaro and Executive Chef Derek Eidson were mingling with guests throughout the evening, making it an enjoyable, interactive experience.
The service, as always, was superb.
The overall event was very well done and made for a great evening out in Des Moines. From the sparkling wine welcome drink upon arrival to the amazing food and service, no detail went unnoticed.
I love that Centro is doing this dinner series, and providing Des Moines residents with a glimpse into Triveneto cuisine. It’s always fun trying new types of food from different parts of the world, especially when it’s delivered with such aplomb.
There are two more dinners in this series so make sure you check it out!
Are you attending an upcoming event in Des Moines?
Let me know where you’re going in the comments!