by Andrew Chalk
It is hard to believe, but Battuto Italian Kitchen, the north Dallas neighborhood Italian restaurant established by radio personalities Gene and Judy Gates, is turning one. To celebrate, they held a media event “Taste of Battuto” with a special 7-course menu and I was fortunate to be invited.
If you were enthused by Battuto’s original concept of inspired Italian cuisine made from carefully sourced ingredients then there is good news — the concept remains as strong as ever. Despite chef changes, the kitchen remains consistent thanks to able sous chef Erik Wolf, formerly of Bolsa. A search continues for an executive chef to replace Joel Harloff, who left last month, but, says Gene Gates, there is no rush. “We want the right person and are willing to wait until we find them”.
The seven-course “Taste of Battuto” menu was akin to a chef’s tasting menu. A little bit of everything from the regular menu came our way. It was cleverly structured like a meal in a classic French haute cuisine restaurant with tiny helpings at the start, making way for progressively larger dishes that had me crying “uncle” somewhere after the bison pasta and before dessert. Indulgent yes, but an affirmation of the soundness of the original menu and the restaurant concept.
Gene and Julie circulated the room answering questions and pouring wine. The wait staff made the elaborate exercise look like child’s play and all the guests enjoyed themselves. Feast your eyes on the dishes below and place your reservations, here.
Sampler with burrata cheese, chicken paté and white bean crostini
Arugula frisée salad with apple, candied pine nuts, parmigiano-reggiano and Meyer lemon vinaigrette
Seared scallop over lemon risotto
Gnocchi Modo Mio: light-as-a-cloud potato pasta with pesto tomato sauce
Bison Pasta: Comanche buffalo and pork ragu with handmade pappardelle
Gustavo’s Short Ribs: three-day boneless beef short ribs with bacon-infused polenta
Tastes of chocolate red wine cake and panna cotta