Back in late August Mi Piaci opened its location in Preston Center in the former Ocho location, and the response has been overwhelmingly incredible. This is where the neighborhood is looking to dine on fresh pasta according to local buzz. This is what Mi Piaci does best. We sent ace photographer, Robert Bostick, out to nab us a first look and his photos made us so hungry we immediately went out to sample a few of the dishes on our own. A few months have passed and the crowds seem larger, and the food is still what we would expect out of this 25 year old institution in Dallas.
The pasta is still handmade by the chef who arrives as early as 5am to start is handy work. The breads are also all house-made with similar start times. The staff looks remarkably familiar, and that is because they have all been with the restaurant for many years after having been transferred from the location on Montfort just before the August opening.
We love the new location with its unpretentious look and feel. There is still white table cloth in the upstairs region of the restaurant, and even a private nook for a small group to hide-a-way, but the first level is where we can dine with friends, laugh over a bottle of an Italian vintage or cocktails, and otherwise enjoy a fantastic meal prepared by the same chef who has grown up in the restaurant and knows the recipes from his heart.
Be sure to order dishes such as the house special risotto with the fresh Burgundy truffles which the restaurant just received from Italy. Chef Elmer will stop by your table and shave the truffles which he procures from a tiny box he keeps at his side. Truly a fantastic dining decision with a season that will take us to the end of the year.
The starters are freshly unique to Mi Piaci. When scouting the menu the Calamari Fritti was highly suggested, but the thought of another plate of overdone squid rings seemed a turn off. We were quickly schooled in the fact that these were thick planks of calamari steaks bedded with sweet and spicy chili sauce, tempered with a cilantro oil. We happily placed an order for these and were ecstatic to find they were delicious. This is how calamari should be prepared every time. This appetizer is worth a happy hour visit alone. Mi Piaci prefers the more genteel term, Social Hour, and is more befitting.
This brings us to carpaccio. Here we are able to have one of our favorite dishes two ways. Either as the most incredibly tender beefy Carpaccio con Parmigiano with wispy thin shavings of filet mignon dressed with arugula, shaved parmigiano reggiano with lemon and extra virgin olive oil, or the Carpaccio de Tonno with Ahi tuna and arugula with lemon, oven dried tomatoes, hummus & fresh goat cheese with lavash crostini. Both are not on the luncheon menu, but can be secretly ordered any time. Of course the tuna is amazing, just stare at our photo, but the hummus is the surprise victor with this dish, scooped up by the house made lavash it is irresistible and could easily be ordered as an entree.
No visit would be complete without ordering a pizza pie. One pizza è necessario campionare is the Margherita that comes replete with marinated tomatoes, basil and aged mozzarella. This pizza is also a candidate for those black truffles we told you about. The pizza is large, thin and very crisp.
One of our favorite dishes we tasted on a recent over-indulgent luncheon was our go-to Mi Piaci dish, the Speghettini Neri, which is a tender squid ink pasta that is over-laden with giant shards of butter poached blue crab and finished with a red chili butter. The pasta has a gentle waft of the squid ink flavoring that is quickly taken aside by the sweet crab goodness. This should be your go to dish as well.
We were also taken aback this day by a house special, which we normally would not sample since it may or may not be available on any given day, but the risotto and scallop dish was simply too enticing not to order. Rest assured you most likely can order this dish any time you wish. There is always risotto in the works at Mi Piaci, with several on the menu. This worked particularly well with the fresh shavings of black truffle. What a comforting dish now that the weather is cooler.
The fresh and updated Mi Piaci still holds true to its tradition of amazing and almost doting service, something you will no doubt wish to experience for yourself.
Mi Piaci | 8411 Preston Road, Dallas | 214.774.9584