Lamb and black truffle sausage: Osteria Papavero, you crazy bastard, I love you

One of the appetizers at Osteria Papavero is “antipasti di tartufo” — three dishes with black truffle, subject to chef’s whim and different every night.  Truffle is one of those ingredients that I know is distinguished and I know is expensive but which has never really revealed its charms to me.  Papavero is helping me out with that problem.   I think I’m going to go ahead and order this dish every time I go, because it’s consistently the highlight of the meal.

Tuesday night, one of the plates was a truffled lamb sausage. Long, dark brown, a little pocked, served in a loose coil, looking a little disturbingly like — well, I’ll bet you can guess what it looked a little disturbingly like.  But it was superb:  coarsely ground, a little gamy or smoky, and rich as hell, without being, you know, stupidly rich.  One of the best things I’ve eaten in Madison.

Papavero has a Christmas tree with comic photos of the staff in place of ornaments.  Also a Xerox of the greatest New Yorker cartoon of all time:

Image courtesy of a post by Daniel Radosh, who observes that the caption is not identical with the one that originally ran in the magazine.  But this version is the one I know and admire.

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