It’s safe to say that French-themed Perle on Union Street is a truffle-friendly restaurant. “When they’re in season, we love to cook with them and use them in a variety of ways,” says owner and chef Dean Yasharian, who has worked with Gordon Ramsey in London.
The menu is a dream, featuring truffle mashed potatoes, truffle parmesan frites, and shaved liberally on steak tartare and pasta.
“When cooking with truffles, I want them to be the star of the dish and never overpowered by competing ingredients,” says Yasharian. “I like to pair them with earthy, neutral items such as mushrooms, potato, sunchokes, celery root, garlic (as truffles naturally have a slightly garlic character), dairy, pasta, risotto, grains, and so on.”
To that end, you can have the winter black fungi shaved on one of the signature dishes of coq au vin, with red wine–braised chicken legs, bacon lardons, and pearl onions.
The three truffles used at Perle are white (rarest), black (Perigord), and Burgundy (summer). “For sourcing, we mostly work with Truffle Brothers [who also supply Bestia, Nobu, and Spago] as I have developed a long-standing relationship with them,” Yasharian says. “I like to work with passionate people and they are extremely passionate about truffles, as well as other fine Italian and European ingredients.”
Across town in Arcadia, you can find an interesting twist on ho-hum avocado toast at the new Le Méridien hotel. The tea sandwiches offered as a part of the new high tea at Longitude 118, include a standout shiitake mushroom truffle option. This rich, earthy addition to the menu was the creation of Executive Chef Makoto Tanaka, who is also behind the fine-dining restaurant Mélange and worked at Spago in Beverly Hills, among others.
Truffle Brothers: Owners the Pietroiacovo brothers forage in the Appennino Mountains of Italy for the freshest truffles. The shop is open to the public in Mid-City, along with a café, Spaccio Salumeria. trufflebrothers.com
Epicurus Gourmet: Those in the know head to this wholesale specialty food warehouse in North Hollywood with more than 1,800 gourmet items and open to the public. You can preorder truffles from France, Italy, and Australia by signing up for the mailing list, which sends out a truffle alert with pricing, minimum order, and more. epicurusgourmet.com
How to Choose: Buying Tips from Chef Dean
Each truffle is different from the next, therefore the individual truffles must be chosen carefully. They should be firm, but not too firm. You want to look out for signs of worms or blemishes. Most importantly, each individual truffle has its own strength, so it’s crucial to smell each one. It will be obvious which ones are the most aromatic—these are the ones you want.
How to Use: Tips from Epicurus Co-Owner Hillary Hirsch
Keep them dry and you can store them for a week or so in the fridge. The white ones are more delicate and don’t hold up as long, so use them as they come in. Truffles love dairy and fat, so pair them with cheese, butter, and eggs.