Now Landing: Truffle Week at Newark-Liberty International Airport

Truffle Hunting

Photo by Benét J. Wilson

Travelers departing from or arriving at United Airlines’ Terminal C at Newark-Liberty International Airport who happen to be truffle lovers are in for a treat November 5-12. OTG Management, the company that runs the airport’s eateries, has partnered with Urbani Truffles to bring in 200 pounds of the edible fungus, valued at $600,000 for a Truffle Week in the Terminal event.

Special truffle dishes will be offered in six restaurants in Terminal C:

  • Casciano’s, another Italian restaurant by Chef Carbone;
  • Caps Beer Garden, an Asian-themed bar and eaterie created by two-time Top Chef contestant Chef Dale Talde;
  • Wanderlust Burger Bar, a concept developed by five-time Burger Bash competition winner Josh Capon, where he features a wide variety of  burgers paired with a stellar list of beers and wines;
  • Saison, a French brasserie created by Michelin-starred Chef Alain Ducasse, which serves classic fare, along with familiar items like hamburgers; and
  • Daily, the first airport restaurant in the world with a menu that is completely comprised of local and seasonal ingredients that changes every day.

Every restaurant except for Casciano’s will also have wine pairings. OTG will also offer tastings of truffle products including popcorn and potato chips at Abruzzo market and the United Miles Shop.

During a sneak peek of the event, three restaurants -- Wanderlust Burger Bar, Daily and Abruzzo Italian Steakhouse  -- offered samples of the truffle dishes being made available to passengers.  The dish from Wanderlust Burger Bar was a black truffle burger (with truffles in the cheese) with mean ground from New York City-based butcher Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyor. Also served was a prosciutto pressed panini made with truffle cream cheese and Parmesan truffle tater tots.  It was served with a 2011 Oddero Langhe Nebbiolo red wine.

The next stop was Daily, where a pan-roasted Rohan duck was served with fresh-shaved truffles and a glass of 2012 Prunotto Barbaresco DOCG red wine. Samples of white truffle popcorn and truffle potato chips were available at Abruzzo market.  Next door at Abruzzo Italian Steakhouse, the chef served canneloni with a truffled ricotta, a truffle zambaione and bourgogne rouges sauce, paired with a Domaine Prieuer-Brunet red wine.

The night ended at Saison, where we were served juvenile salmon sushi with fresh truffles, along with a truffled roast chicken dish.  Dessert was a honey-vanilla-truffle ice cream topped with a fresh truffle.


Upgrade Underway

Truffle Week is part of an effort by OTG and United Airlines to highlight an ongoing $120 million upgrade of Terminal C, launched in 2014 and expected to be completed in 2017. Among the changes in store is a new integrated security checkpoint, gate areas with comfortable seating and iPads  that customers can use to track flights and order meals for delivery and natural lighting that adjusts to the time of day.

Working with OTG, United has brought in new retail spaces and restaurants, designed to reimagine exactly what an airport terminal should look like. OTG has used its industry connections to woo some of the best chefs in the industry, including the Vesper Tavern gastropub from Paul Liebrandt, French restaurant Riviera from Alex Guarnaschelli, Shoushin Yanaura's ramen bar, Nonna's Meatball Cafe by Amanda Freitag and Tacquila by Alex Stupak, which serves street tacos and 200 different types of tequila.

By 2017, Terminal C will have nearly 60 new eateries with many choices and different prices.  All will highlight fresh, locally sourced ingredients and show off the best regional and local dining experiences. It will have restaurants that transform from morning to afternoon: Poppy's bagel shop to Casciano's gourmet deli or Sugary and Crepes Café to Custom burgers and Notorious P.I.G., giving travelers many different options.

And if travelers just want to stay near the gate, the terminal will have comfortable seating and dining areas with iPads they can use to track flights and order meals from nearby restaurants for delivery. And those who are MileagePlus frequent flyer members use their miles to pay for food and beverages in the terminal.

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OTG uses truffles to highlight upscale Newark Airport restaurants.