Each day throughout the year, Santo creates an elevated dining experience of seasonally inspired, modern Mediterranean cuisine. While located in Green Hills, Santo would no doubt prove fully at home were it situated instead next to Manhattan’s more notable restaurants, Eleven Madison Park and Le Bernardin included. Its Green Hills location, however, gives Santo’s patrons an advantage that other elevated dining experiences often lack, convenient and complimentary self and valet parking -- no trivial matter as, once you sample executive chef’s Sal Avila’s inspired artisanal dishes placed before you with impeccable service, you will want to return again and again.
But just as Everest towers above the surrounding peaks, so too does one particular elevated dining experience at Santo attain unmatched heights. Benvenuti alla cena al tartufo bianco -- welcome to the white truffle dinner and -- ohmygoodness -- are you in for one memorable meal, a six course symphony of gastronomic art with the world’s most delicious fungi, the white truffle, serving as leitmotif.
The genesis of the dinner sprang from a late October conversation between Doss Posey, Santo’s general manager, and a fabulous family of regulars discussing white truffles. It was there that Doss decided to do a very exclusive, white truffle dinner, explaining his vision to the group and his experience in putting on a score or more of truffle dinners over the years in Atlanta, Boston and Manhattan. They decided to go for it. Easy to say, but not easy to do.
“When you do a dinner of this magnitude,” Doss shares, “yes, only 50 guests, but 400 plates of food and 400 glasses of wine and all served in three hours, it’s quite an undertaking of minute details.”
And Doss is not kidding about the details. For example, he and his team decided to have the guests enter through the kitchen, so they could get a glimpse of the culinary artistry they were about to experience.
“Since the truffles come from Alba in Piemonte, Italy,” Doss says. “I decided that all wine would be Piemontese as well. I researched specific wines and vintages and Chef Avila and I tasted the wines together and he came up with each dish. It was fun to reverse engineer a menu this way, but you have to have a well-versed, imaginative chef which I do!”
Clearly so. Chef Alvia’s six dishes were each extraordinary in their own right -- the foie gras torchon with apple, the crispy halibut with melted leeks, the braised veal with cipollini onion, the list goes on -- but each course was made even more flavorful by the fragrant flakes of white truffle Doss would sprinkle on from above.
“We will absolutely be holding this every year in celebration of the most delicious fungi on the planet,” Doss promises. “But also as a celebration of the conclusion of another year.”
So start planning ahead, dear readers! The next white truffle dining experience at Santo is a mere ten months away. To stay abreast of this and Santo’s many other special events, simply add your email to their events page at www.santonashville.com or follow them on Instagram @santonashville.
White truffles are one of the world's most expensive foods because they grow only under very specific conditions. Found in northern Italy, they are harvested in fall and early winter by following the keen noses of specially trained dogs. White truffles' ineffable and extraordinary flavor must be experienced for yourself!