Sunday, September 18, 2011

Davanti Enoteca

Location: 1359 W Taylor and 30 E Hubbard
Cost: Around $30 per person (without drinks)

A good friend of mine from college, let's call him PD, is currently starring as Frank-n-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show. I'd never been to one of these shows before, and boy was I out of place. For those of you that don't know, it's this big cult following where the audience members yell back at the actors during certain parts of the show. People dress up as the characters too, which can get kind of dicey. Luckily for Josh, Lonnie, Vadim, and myself, things are kind of toned down for the 2PM show. My review of the performance can be summed up to amazement (mostly at PD's agility in high heels). After the show, Vadim went to hang with his grandma while Josh, Lonnie, and I went to dinner at one of their favorite spots, Davanti Enoteca.

Logistics
All I'd read previously about Davanti was that it was awful to get in to. They don't take reservations, and when they first opened, it was common for people to wait at the bar for hours before a table opened up. We got in there around 6:15 on a Saturday with three people and got sat right away. Not only that, but we got a spot on their sweet rooftop.

Our waitress was patient and explained many of the dishes to us. The small plates came out in a comfortable progression that never made us feel overloaded at one point or another. The cost is totally reasonable. It's tough to comment on a price per dish basis, but for all of us to leave filled to the brim, it was under $30 a piece.

The Food
The first thing we got was the Burrata with cherry tomatoes and pesto. The cheese was creamier than I expected and could've used a little more substance. The combination of the cool cheese and the warm tomatoes was wonderful. Then we got the Truffle Egg Toast with Fontina and Asparagus. The egg yolks were runny, and the brioche style toast soaked up the bread nicely. We sopped up every last bit of this dish. For the last of our appetizer style dishes we had the Chicken Liver Pate. I'm a huge fan of most foods that can lead to gout, and this was no exception. The pate was creamy and blended well with sweet onion shavings.

The Burrata

The Truffle Egg Toast

The Chicken Pate

Our entree style small plates included the Rainbow Trout, the Pizza D.O.C., and the Risotto Carbonara. The pizza was plain, but the crust was light and flaky. The Risotto was creamy and had a proper substance, barely holding its shape on a plate. It was mixed with an egg yolk and had large chunks of pancetta. The Trout was the true highlight dish. The fish came out whole. It was drizzled with an avocado dressing and topped with roasted plums. The skin was crisped nicely and added even more textural complexity to the dish.

The Rainbow Trout

The Risotto Carbonara

The Pizza D.O.C.

For our dessert we got Tracy's Sottobosco which was a mason jar filled with cheese cake, blueberries, and graham crackers. It was a little too sweet for me, and the berries had an odd texture to me, almost as if they were frozen previously and not properly defrosted. None of this stopped me from inhaling the dish though as the flavors were pretty much all there.

Tracy's Sottobosco

Overall
Strong flavors rang true throughout our meal at Davanti Enoteca. My favorite items were the pate, the trout, and the truffle egg toast. The rooftop was a fantastic setting as well (you better hurry if you want to try it out before the weather goes sour). I'm giving them 4.5 out of 5 Pearls.


Update 12/8/13:
A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to try out the River North location. The menu was the same although the atmosphere was a little different. The feel was slightly darker and trendier that the Little Italy counterpart. The food was excellent as was our service. They have this interesting setup with Glazed and Infused next door, but it's not like we had any room to take advantage of that. Make sure to check it out if you're nearby.

Davanti Enoteca on Urbanspoon
Davanti Enoteca - River North on Urbanspoon

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