Siena Tavern, the Chicago hotspot from Top Chef alum Fabio Viviani, is setting itself apart from other truffle-touting restaurants by offering tableside truffle service. “Most of the time when you are tasting truffles in a restaurant, it is a truffle oil,” says Bradley Glynn, director of operations for Siena Tavern. So for an extra $20 or so per dish, customers can see that they’re getting the real deal; the chef on the expo line will hop off and come to the table to shave Italian black truffles onto any of nearly 20 pastas and pizzas.
With truffles ranking as one of the most expensive ingredients available, having a single chef shave them helps to control the cost, says Glynn. Still, he admits that it’s not a huge moneymaker for the restaurant. So why do it? “It is about offering our guests something they can’t have anywhere else, as there are few restaurants in the city that use real truffles,” says Glynn. And thus far, the customers seem to appreciate that extra touch; Glynn says many are choosing to upgrade their dishes with the shaved truffle option.