The Gene and Julie Gates restaurant, Battuto Italian Kitchen, is days away from opening and last night we were invited guests to check out the menu and to soak up the ambiance of the new North Dallas restaurant, and what we found you are going to fall in love with.
We were offered a small variety from the menu which includes house-made pastas, stone-fired pizzas, a variety of interesting salads and one particular entree that you will not care to miss.
The interior is simple and beautiful. The transformation from sports bar to a rustic Italian kitchen took a bit more time than the Gates had originally planned, but from the time they selected the space until today has been near light-speed in task. The walls are elegant, and adorned with a few simple pieces of art, most an homage to da Vinci. Pay particular note to the woods at the bar, all custom designed and crafted.
Consider all that elegance Julie’s realm, while Gene spends more time in the kitchen working on the dishes daily with his chef, Gustavo Herrera, who last hailed at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas. One particular dish that Gates and Herrera have worked on for some time is the gnocchi dish, which is actually a nod to restaurateur Rino Brigliadori who ran Modo Mio, a key inspiration for Battuto. Brigliadori was born in Cesena, Italy and ran his restaurant not far from where Battuto sits today. The gnocchi dish is a blessing from Brigliadori’s sons to Gates.
We ordered the Cauliflower and Roasted Garlic soup last evening to our delight. The soup was light and creamy with a tempered roasted garlic flavor, and a mellow sweetness from the cauliflower. It will be difficult not to order this soup at Battuto.
The pizza we tasted last night is a play on traditional eggs and bacon, using Speck, quail eggs, a truffled gouda and arugula. Put an egg on anything and it will be delicious, however these eggs were sent out with the perfect over easiness making the pizza ooze with joy. The gouda only made the pizza ridiculously delicious with its slight air of truffles to tempt a taste.
Now for that dish that should not be missed. The Whole Fish Branzino, served with roasted fingerling potatoes and a small salad of shaved asparagus with wisps of fennel, is a delight. In this era of fantastic seafood restaurants exploding across the Dallas dining scene, making a fish that is anything but perfect should be considered a sin. The Branzino, which is a Mediterranean sea bass, was moist, light and flavorful. The potatoes =, perfectly crisp and pillowy.
The wine list was fun and expansive for the space. The price range was perfect with many bottles hitting that sweet spot of 30, 40 and 50 dollar range. There are also some terrific surprises for the wine enthusiast as well, all priced without the usual gouge. The wine by the glass program is beyond the usual few glasses of cheap whites and reds, and you will be happy to hear that they are all served at a perfect cellar temp.
For not even being open yet Battuto slammed a home run. We were particularly fond of the waitstaff who were all knowledgeable and polite. Our particular waitress worked at Modo Mio, and comes from a restaurant family. Her attention to detail was spectacular with a good amount of wine knowledge. The devil is definitely in the details, and the Gates seem to have addressed them all.
Look for Battuto Italian Kitchen to open in coming days.
Battuto Italian Kitchen | 18101 Preston Rd, Dallas | 972.930.0558