I initially held off on sharing my tasting notes for Fortina's epically unique "underground" dinner last week, as it felt like a tease to share an eating adventure that could not be experienced by our readers. Well, all that has changed. The private dinners that began as a way for the Fortina culinary team to stretch their legs, experiment with flavors and dishes, and ultimately serve to inform new menu items, can now be booked by YOU. Here is a little inside scoop on last week's carefully orchestrated 8 person dinner/performance, complete with 10 courses, alcoholic icees, an opera singer, a comedian, escargot served on a VCR, and heck of a lot of fun.
Fortina's private "underground" parties go down in the basement level of their Rye Brook location. In honor of our event, candles lit the way through the darkness of their immense basement kitchen and into the place where the magic happens, the pizza and pasta dough room. Great tunes blared as we settled in at a cozy table for 8 with the first of 6 paired cocktails, wines, and alcoholic Italian ice.
Throughout the evening, the full Fortina team and doting staff guided us through dishes that were most definitely OFF the menu, ranging from Marsala Escargot to Tortas with Fried Oysters, and a divine Stuffed Mushroom served on a vintage vinyl record. The meal was enhanced by a killer playlist, a dancing wait staff, a failed comedian (who made 4 attempts at his lines before we realized it was a ruse), and the pièce de résistance, Ross Keiser, a Fortina employee who could double as a professional opera singer. Oh yeah...he sang to us in the walk in fridge.
The evening in its entirely was a perfectly staged piece of performance art with a menu that excited and surprised us at every turn. These dinners showcase the incredible talent of the Fortina chefs including Christian Petroni, Jodi Bernhard, Jared Falco, Shaun Vanalphen, Andrew Delvecchio and Artuo Salvidar, as well as many of the employees who are working as wait staff until they get their big break as singers, dancers or stand up comedians.
I'm pleased to announce that these evenings (for up to 8 guests, as can fit in their dough room) can be booked through Fortina by inboxing fortinapizza on Instagram or reaching out through their web site.
Fortina 136 South Ridge Street, Rye Brook NY 914-937-0900
Fortina can also be found in CT at 120 Washington Blvd at Harbor Point, Stamford (203) 703-9080
[Photography courtesy of Thomas McGovern]