Monday, May 15, 2017

Delightful Davio's-Gourmet Italian in Atlanta

~Doc Lawrence~

According to the great Julia Child,  “people who love to eat are the best people.” Believing in this aphorism, I headed deep in the heart of upscale Buckhead to regal Phipps Plaza for dinner with friends who are guided by this belief.

The spring evening was perfect for al fresco dining on the patio at Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse comfortably positioned in this Atlanta luxury mall. The Buckhead area where we gathered is renowned for high-tiered restaurants and those of us who write about food, wine and cocktails arrived with high expectations.

We were not disappointed.

Joined by esteemed wine and food expert Jane Garvey and veteran wine and travel writer Greg McCluney, the evening began with passed appetizers of feather-light crispy fried oysters, dates stuffed with blue cheese wrapped in crispy bacon and Philly Cheese Steak spring rolls served with flutes overflowing with La Marco Prosecco.

Center Cut Filet Mignon
True to Steve DiFillippo’s vision, Davio’s Spring Media Dinner menu was Northern Italian. Antipasto was Murray’s cheese burrata with cantaloupe, aged balsamic and focaccia. The 2014 Davio’s Reserve Chardonnay was subtly oaked, served chilled at the appropriate temperature.

Farinanceo became one of the more fascinating items served by Malik, our well-trained waiter, a New York City transplant, whose gentle manners and skills contrasted somewhat with his 6’6” height. (Is Malik Atlanta’s tallest waiter?) The hand-rolled potato gnocchi over morel mushrooms, spring peas with lemon butter could have been comfortable with either the Chardonnay or the 2015 Davio’s Reserve Pinot Noir. With the evening running so smoothly, no one quibbled.

Piatti Del Giorno included a choice of Halibut with Maine Lobster or center cut filet mignon. We opted for the steak and our instincts were soon proven brilliant. Served over a fabulously tasty parsnip puree laced with spring asparagus, the steak was trimmed and cooked to order, becoming the piece de resistance of the dinner. The 2014 Davio’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was the evening’s headliner.

Dolce consisted of vanilla bean panna cotta with fresh seasonal berries and good coffee. A sweet finish to a near-perfect evening in Buckhead. Eccezionale, a wonderfully expressive Italian word, means exceptional in English. In either language, that describes Davio's.

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