This week, chef Vincent Nargi of Café Luxembourg in New York City has taken time out from his busy schedule to share with us the sumptuous and delicious recipe for corn ravioli and summer truffles. White summer truffles are harvested from June to late August and should still be available — if you cannot find them, or if you prefer, you can use truffle oil instead. Summer truffles are much less pungent and much less expensive than their winter counterparts — winter truffles can cost around $350 per pound, and rare white truffles can be priced at more than $1,000 per pound. So at a mere $90 per pound, the summer truffle is an excellent way to introduce yourself to this delicacy or indulge yourself without breaking the bank if you are already a truffle lover!
The bistro style of Café Luxembourg is perfect, from the antique mirrors, soft lighting and crisp white-paper-covered tablecloths down to the long bistro-style aprons of the serving staff over their traditional black-and-white uniforms. The excellent French-American cuisine has ensured a loyal following for this quintessential Upper West Side bistro.
About the chef
Growing up in Westchester, N.Y., Nargi was surrounded by family members dedicated to the food business. His father owned several cafés where the 10-year-old Nargi would make espressos and cappuccinos, along with helping out at his uncle’s pizzeria. He was fascinated by his family’s talent and commitment to a business that required endless hours of hard work. He would later discover that he had an undeniable draw to the same business.
Nargi attended the prestigious Culinary Institute of America and his first job in the kitchen was as garde manger at Park Avenue Café. He credits that kitchen with teaching him important lessons that go beyond culinary skill: professionalism, sacrifice and doing a job until it’s done. To this day, Nargi doesn’t leave the kitchen for the night until everything is in its proper place.
Now, Nargi holds the prestigious role of chef at not one, not two, but three restaurants: Café Luxembourg (currently celebrating its 25th birthday), The Odeon (which has been in business for 28 years) and their sister restaurant Café Cluny (which is located in the West Village).
At all three restaurants, Nargi wants to make sure that anyone, from a first timer to a neighborhood regular, finds a favorite dish … and falls in love with it all over again.
Corn ravioli and summer truffles are served at Café Luxembourg for $22.
Want to nominate your favorite restaurant dish for a “Steal This Recipe” feature? Just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org the name of the restaurant, city and state, and the dish you would like to have re-created. Want to know more about Phil and food? Visit his Web site at www.supermarketguru.com.