Dining Deals

Discount Dining: Quattro at the Four Seasons

Groupon.com recently offered a $40 voucher for $20 to Quattro at the Four Seasons Hotel. It just so happens Chef Maurizio Ferrarese's will be one of the contenders in the Who's Your Chef? competition at the upcoming Italian Expo, so this was a good opportunity for me to try some of his modern Italian fare.

The restaurant's casual yet elegant atmosphere was a welcome surprise as I expected something stuffier, but the service is just as you would expect from the Four Seasons. The waiter didn't bat an eyelash when we let him know we would be sharing small plates instead of ordering entrees. I decided to try a few of Chef Maurizio Ferrarese's top picks noted on the menu with a chef's toque.

The Vitello e Tonno Tonnato, a traditional Northern Italian dish of veal with seared tuna, tonnata sauce, puffed pantelleria capers and anchovies, arrived first. The plate was beautifully presented, each ingredient arranged where with one movement your fork could pick up every ingredient at once. The veal and tuna were perfectly cooked but the next taste in my mouth was that of salt, large grains of sea salt. The tonnato sauce did little to help as that too was over-salted and the texture slightly gritty. I felt the dish could have really benefited from a little acid, just a spritz of lemon or some fresh tomatoes.

Next came the Ravioli di Carciofi, hand-filled artichoke ravioli with snail ragout. The dish was accented with a butternut squash puree and zucchini flower "chips." The fresh ravioli was perfectly al dente, the artichoke filling melting perfectly into the pasta. The snail ragout worked well and overall, it was a very successful dish.

The last dish was the Schiacciata Prosciutto e Arugula, a very simple flat bread with cured ham, arugula and gorgonzola. The ham -- which could have brought too much salt to the table again -- was actually mild, and the cheese and arugula were good companions. The schiacciata was inoffensive but unexceptional. I was hoping for more flavor and more crispness in the bread.

So would I return to Quattro without a discount? I may give it another shot and try the entrees as they do change seasonally. The server also let us know of their Sunday Brunch buffet that sounds promising but mostly I want to explore more of the chef's take on modern Italian.

Follow Eating Our Words on Facebook and on Twitter @EatingOurWords

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Minh T Truong