Mangia Bene at Davanti Enoteca
It would be ridiculous to assume that there would be anything that we wouldn’t like about Chef Peter DeRuvo’s latest conquest. After spending a few hours at Davanti Enoteca, speaking with Chef DeRuvo as well as his star Sous Chef, Darrell Campbell, and General Manager, Cyndi DiNardo it appears as if this could be the perfect marriage of incredible cuisine, gorgeous atmosphere and business acumen.
Chef DeRuvo looked happy, stress-free and most importantly, comfortable. All these things shined through in our dinner as well.
We started our meal with an innocuous-looking focaccia – the Focaccia di Recco ($16). This is described on the menu as a ligurian style baked foccacia and fresh soft cow cheese. You can (and definitely should) add local honeycomb for an additional $2. Once this little delight arrived at our table we had several members of the wait staff stop by to let us know how popular the dish was and that it was, simply, amazing. With all of this talk about the wonders of this focaccia, Chef DeRuvo even at one point called it ‘Scottsdale Crack’; we had some really high hopes…and it was ridiculous. The simplest description of this dish would be an Italian quesadilla – but its flavor profile is so much more complicated. The bread was crispy and soft in all the right places. The soft cheese was delightful and creamy. Add in a little slathering of the local honey and this simplistic dish is tossed into such great heights. This is one that you definitely do not want to pass up…ever!
Next up came the Truffle Egg Toast served with Fontina and asparagus ($12). Truffles are always hit or miss with me. I’ve had some great experiences, which you surely have read, and some not so great ones, those I have kept to myself since we’re not about the negative. This luscious pillow arrived at our table with an egg yolk affixed atop the toast. Our server cut the toast into 4 points for us, allowing the yolk and the smooth Fontina to meld perfectly. The truffle flavor was present but not overpowering at all. The flavors melded together perfectly and were amazingly complimentary. This offering is tied with the Focaccia for the best thing I have had from Chef DeRuvo. Simple and beautiful dishes that appear to be unassuming but explode with such intense flavors that do nothing less than blow you away!
Amy has always been a huge fan of Chef DeRuvo’s ribs. While the recipe has been tweaked depending on the kitchen they are coming out of, I think these Crispy Ribs with Saba, Crushed Hazelnuts and Roman Gorgonzola Dolce Slaw ($12) were a hit. The ribs aren’t messy, which for me is a huge plus, and the crushed hazelnuts are a nice twist.
We were also able to sample the Pesce Del Giorni and the Polpo con Rafano. The Pesce Del Giorno ($16) was a sea bass filet served with shaved fennel, grapefruit, castelvetrano olive and white balsamic. I love the delicate flavor of skin on sea bass. The addition of the shaved fennel and white balsamic made my mouth so incredibly happy. The dish was light and perfect summertime fare.
The Polpo con Rafano ($17) is a delightful salad of seared octopus served with a warm fingerling potato salad adorned with marcona almonds, celery root, finnochiona and fresh horseradish aioli. The octopus was the absolute perfect texture and the inventive take on the potato salad was awe-inspiring. I am a sucker for an aioli and the kick of the horseradish alongside the octopus was surprising and delicious!
While we didn’t have much room left, we would be remiss to leave without sampling a decadent dessert. Amy and I opted to share an order of the Purple Pig Panini, a Nutella, banana and house made marshmallow sandwich of sorts. This delectable dessert could bring Elvis out of hiding! I could only manage about three bites and each one was luscious and rich, smooth and sinfully sweet. Perfection. I was really sad that I didn’t have the fortitude to power through and finish my half.
I sampled three cocktails with dinner – I had to make up for the ones that Amy wasn’t having, right? The first was Cool Smoke ($12) which is comprised of Cesare Pisco, cucumber, egg white (that’s right – but don’t be scared!), illegal joven mescal and fresh squeezed lemon. This was the brightest among the star status cocktails. It was beautiful in appearance and very smooth – not too sweet or strong. Gorgeous!
Next up was the Smack Your ‘Madre’ Margarita ($12). This is a Tanteo jalapeño infused tequila, cranberry juice, agave nectar, cucumber and fresh squeezed lime. This was a nice take on the pedestrian margarita. The jalapeño infused tequila brought a nice kick to the drink. It’s not an immediate kick…it sort of sneaks up on you, hence the name.
I finished up with a Watermelon Caipifruta ($12). This drink features Cachaca, St. Germaine, watermelon, mint, agave nectar and fresh lime. This is a sweet drink, but not overly sweet. The St. Germaine adds a floral complexity to the drink and is the perfect partner to the watermelon and mint.
Davanti Enoteca is located in the space where the Quilted Bear used to be. It’s a great location and the interior is large and cozy at the same time. There is a masculine sexiness exhibited in the hardwood, the banquettes and the large light fixtures. The wait staff is very attentive. We saw a variety of faces at our table, whether refilling water glasses or asking what we thought of this or that dish.
I am really excited to see what is in store for Davanti Enoteca in the coming months. They are working on some really inspired ideas at the bar as well as the kitchen. I imagine each week will bring something new since you never know what Chef DeRuvo has up his sleeve!
Learn more about the restaurant at davantiscottsdale.com.
Davanti Enoteca | 6316 N. Scottsdale Rd | Scottsdale, AZ | 85253 | 480-659-1800
Recap by Taryn Jeffries, PhoenixBites Staff Writer
This meal was provided complimentary as a part of a media invitation. However, this has no effect on our opinions and comments regarding our experience. View our Disclosure Policy for further explanation.