Tucked away from all the flash in a pan NYC restaurants is one of the few remaining institutions of the past. Tiro A Segno is the oldest Italian heritage organization in the United States, and is quietly situated in a beautiful four story building on MacDougal street. There is a lot of intrigue surrounding Tiro (“tiro a segno” translates to “shoot the target”) – from the tight membership, not knowing what really goes on here (and knowing to keep your mouth shut), to the old school rifle range in the cellar. So it’s no surprise that dinner invites to Tiro get rsvp’ed yes straight away. It’s a tough place to get into if you don’t have the right connections, and there just aren’t many manly places left in an overly politically correct world.
One such special evening, 25 of us gathered upstairs on the 4th floor private dining lounge for a Super Tuscan Biserno wine dinner. Hosted by Lodovico Antinori and Duncan Quinn in probably the most appropriate venue one could ask for, the night was Tuscany meets Italian American New York. Jacket and tie mandatory, and they dust one off for you if you’re not appropriately attired.
DineGirl had the task of designing the table, so we overloaded on candles, fall flowers and mini heirloom apples to add to the mood. It’s always a nice touch to see your name card at a dinner party, so we made sure to up the ante and gave each name card the Tuscan touch by adding a mini herb bouquet to each setting. We received several compliments from the guys on how nice the table looked : “the little apples are a nice touch”, “the table looks amazing” – which completely threw me for a loop…. they actually noticed the nice details! Men have officially evolved.
Places like Tiro are heavy on the atmosphere, so you might not expect much from the food. But surprisingly for this dinner the cuisine measured up beautifully. To start, the always classic caprese salad was served with a drizzling of Biserno’s own extra virgin olive oil, which was bright and fruity.
Next course included a seafood risotto, perfectly buttery and creamy and delicious – a highlight of the meal. From the main course selection I think the filet mignon seemed to be one of the better options. But the stars of the night were the wines. Il Pino di Biserno 2008 was well rounded, ripe, with just a hint of warm spice tones. Biserno 2008 was full bodied and bold, with deep berry harmony. This is your top of the line show piece Super Tuscan which should sit in your cellar for 20 years to mature. Lodovico gave a beautiful speech in the warm candlelight about his passion for the terroir, care in production, and what it means to be an artisan. We finished off the evening with some fire igniting, throat clearing, puts-hair-on-your-chest 1990 Ron Navazos Palazzi. And of course the evening started and ended with a glass (or two, or three) of our old friend Krug Grand Cuvée.
This is the ultimate in Barbarian Dining, and yet ironically no one was barbaric that night. Perhaps its knowing that there is live ammunition a few flights down, the fancy table setting, or the refined grapes in an alluring setting. Or maybe it’s just that everyone is on their best and most gentlemanly behavior in the hopes of getting invited back to such a storied place.
In NYC, Biserno wines are available at Italian Wine Merchants.
Read more about Biserno wines here.
Tiro A Segno
77 MacDougal Street
New York, NY 10012