Unfortunately, I did not carry a copy of my Food Lover’s Companion, nor did I have access to the web when I looked through the menu at a quaint Italian restaurant in Washington, D.C. Unafraid to try new foods at my own expense, I ordered the Filet Mignon Carpaccio. Although filet mignon wasn’t new to me, the term carpaccio was extremely foreign, but it drew me in like a magnet. I had no clue what carpaccio was, but it sounded delicious to me. Now that I think about it, maybe it was the words filet mignon that truly enticed me. Nevertheless, I drew my finger down the menu’s list of options, and when the waitress arrived to take my order, I stopped. I pointed at my choice. I said, with conviction, “I’ll have the Filet Mignon Carpaccio!” Without question, the waitress smiled and walked away as though people frequently ordered filet mignon carpaccio.
When the plate arrived, I looked down to see thinly sliced pieces of raw meat. This must be a mistake – I thought. Against my better judgment, I tasted the filet mignon carpaccio. I was not surprised that it tasted exactly the way it looked: RAW! “Miss!”, I called. I squeamishly said, “This meat is raw.” For some reason I thought the thinly sliced meat may have been cured with salt or citrus; well, I was sadly mistaken. The waitress explained that carpaccio is raw beef or fish thinly sliced, drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice, and seasoned. I realize that unlike ceviche, where the acid in the lemon juice cooks the seafood and presents a tang. carpaccio; however, is raw and maintains a raw taste.
Fortunately, the waitress at the restaurant was gracious enough to substitute the filet mignon carpaccio with a platter of imported, italian salami and prosciutto. I can honestly admit that carpaccio is not on my list of favorite foods.