Mmmm…how much am I still dreaming about the food I had at Davanti Enoteca? I had being hearing for months about Davanti, and I finally made it over to Little Italy to give it a whirl. And now I want to go back. I need to go back. And when I do, I fully intend to try every item on the menu. Because clearly I have been wasting time.
Rustically chic Davanti is all about shared Italian-inspired plates, which is an ideal way to try all sorts of dishes without going into a food coma (or crashing your spring healthy-eating diet). Fortunately, with six hungry women at our table, there were plenty of different dishes going around. And each dish, while unique, maintained a common theme: a brilliant juxtaposition of imaginative and simple. Oh yeah, and the wine is pretty damn spectacular, too.
We began with the Focaccia di Recco. While at first blush the Ligurian style focaccia looked just like a regular flat bread, upon further investigation we discovered it was stuffed with soft, creamy cow cheese. On its own, the crispy, light focaccia and mellow, almost sweet cow cheese would have been enough. However, we had it with fresh, rich honeycomb, which made the dish inspirational.
- Focaccia di Recco
Another favorite was the chewy faro and squash. I’m fairly certain it wasn’t even on the menu that night, but Davanti still made it happen. Faro and squash is a dish I love to make at home – I use the faro as a healthy grain alternative to Arborio rice to make risotto – but, as should be no surprise, Davanti brought the dish to a whole new level with its sweet balsamic reduction sauce, goat cheese, and fresh greens.
I loved the inventiveness of the roasted cauliflower steak served with crunchy garbanzo beans, and the sweet pea salad with shrimp tasted like spring. In Italy. The velvety mascarpone polenta and ragu of the day – that day it was pork – reminded me of my grandma’s brisket, if only my grandma had been Italian. And it was beautifully presented from pot to platter table-side.
For dessert, I had the orta bacio, a chocolate-hazelnut mousse with chocolate so dark it was nearly bitter. Just the way I like it. Served on top of a crunchy bottom and with cocoa nibs, the mousse was the perfect ending to a fabulous dinner. Did I mention I cannot wait to go back?
Try Davanti Enoteca at 1359 W. Taylor St.