Have you ever eaten somewhere and days later you are still ranting, raving, and craving both the food and atmosphere? That is just what I am doing about Davanti on Taylor street! It was a random rainy Wednesday afternoon when a friend and I walked through the beautiful wooden doors and grabbed two seats at the end of the bar. Almost immediately I was overwhelmed (in a fabulous way!) with the rustic-chic décor, calming colors, and exposed brick arches. As my eyes scanned the room my heart warmed from all the love that was put into the tiny details. I instantly felt at home, cozy, and knew I was in for a very special experience.
A lovely bartender greeted us with a contagious smile as she set down the wine list and menus. “Champagne please!” I eagerly exclaimed, beaming with a smile from ear to ear. A few moments later I heard the sound of the cork being popped and the even-better sound of our flutes being filled with millions of tiny bubbles! After we toasted to our friendship it was time to order.
Since I am a vegetarian (don't gasp, it’s uncouth) my friend said I could choose what to order and we would share. Davanti’s menu was filled with mouthwatering options with unique flavor combinations of fresh ingredients, all neatly presented in seven categories. Rather than order entrées I decided to order three small plates: ricotta & local honey comb, truffle egg toast with fontina & asparagus, and Uovo in Raviolo ‘San Domenico’ (a giant ravioli filled with spinach, ricotta, & egg). I was truly excited, and my tummy was too!
After just a few minutes a beautiful wooden board with buttery golden Italian toasts, fresh honey comb, and a small canning jar was on its way over for our enjoyment. After I was done fawning over the presentation it was time to taste. Well, I was completely bowled over. This was the BEST ricotta I had ever eaten. Mind you, I'm Italian, grew up eating ricotta, and have traveled to Italy. It was creamy, almost velvety, and tasted like fresh milk. It had a tiny drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper, which paired perfectly with the buttery toast and fresh honey comb. Some of the most refined and delicious dishes are made of the simplest and highest quality ingredients, and this was one of those dishes.
Practically salivating, I couldn't wait to see what came out next. All of a sudden I smelled truffles and I knew the truffle egg toast with fontina & asparagus was coming next! Not only did this dish smell amazing, but it looked absolutely decadent. I mean, how could brioche topped with fontina, golden softly cooked egg yolks, and crisp julienned asparagus with truffle butter taste bad? After I cut into the brioche the yolks broke and slowly glazed both the bread and asparagus. It was one of those moments when you stop and think, "life is so damn fabulous!" The dish was like a symphony: everything was harmonious and well rehearsed. Truly, one of my top 10 great culinary moments to date.
Could this get better? YES! What is better than a ravioli? A GIANT ravioli, one as big around as a softball and filled with spinach, ricotta, a buttery egg yolk, and topped with a brown butter sauce and fresh cheese! When my fork cut through the middle of the ravioli this stunning "sauce" made from the filling and brown butter filled my bowl. The pasta itself was smooth and cooked to perfection. Each bite was bursting with flavor, texture, and love! I was happy and content, and so was my tummy.
As we paid our bill (which was under $100 for three small plates and six glasses of champagne) we were already thinking about when we could come back and who else to bring to this fabulous culinary utopia! We quickly realized that any occasion (or random Wednesday) will do, and just about everyone we know will LOVE it at Davanti! Buon appetito Chicago!
1359 W. Taylor Street
Chicago, IL 60607