Davanti Enoteca: Believe the Buzz; It's Sensational
When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).
All photos by Laura Hahnefeld. Get This: Polpo con Rafano
See also: Pete DeRuvo Dishes on the Mouthwatering Italian Food He Grew Up On (You Will Be Jealous) and Praises Three Local Chefs (Although One Goes Un-named)
See also: Peter DeRuvo's Davanti Enoteca Now Open for Lunch (Plus, the Menu)
See also: Chef Peter DeRuvo Shares What's in Store at Davanti Enoteca
There are many times in life when the real thing doesn't live up to the buzz that preceded it (thank you very much, The Dark Knight Rises). This isn't the case with Davanti Enoteca. All the talk you may have heard is true. And I've got the photos and still-tingling taste buds to prove it.
Get This: Focaccia di Recco
Opened in early August in the former home of the Quilted Bear in Scottsdale, Davanti Enoteca is the newest home (and third location) of the Italian restaurant from Chicago-based Francesca's Restaurants Group (which also brought Mia Francesca to the Valley).
Headed up by chef Peter DeRuvo (formerly of Sassi, Prado, and Cuoco Pazzo), the menu is a large selection of sharable modern Italian fare. If you're unsure where to start, friendly and knowledgeable servers can assist, although I'm convinced there are few places, if any, where one can go wrong.
A must-try is the focaccia di recco with local honeycomb. At $18, its price may seem a bit startling, but, like most of the dishes here, worth every cent. The thin, baked bread is golden brown and bubbly, wonderfully crispy, and filled with lusciously soft cow cheese. And the accompanying melting honeycomb, meant to be spread on top, adds sweet to the savory. My server may have put it best when he said, "You're going to have fun eating this dish. It's already good, but the honeycomb triples the dish's flavor."
For vegetable lovers looking for a bit of garden gourmet, there are roasted hearts of palm ($12) whose cylindrical ivory tops tinged with brown look like the veggie version of a campfire marshmallow and whose taste is somewhere between artichokes and mushrooms. Served with grilled tomatoes barely able to hold back their juiciness, both vegetables are topped with lemon jam and razor-thin slices of marinated lemon, whose rinds add a perfect amount of bitterness to the tart in every bite.
Hearts of palm with tomatoes and marinated lemon.