Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sotto Sotto: a birthday dinner

So looking forward to heading back to one of my favorite restaurants in Atlanta to celebrate my daughter's 22nd birthday - Sotto Sotto!
Photo Credit: Google
The Italian eatery located at 313 N. Highland Ave., Atlanta, GA 30307 (http://www.urestaurants.net/) has some of the best Italian food this side of Italy.


 From their website:

 "When Riccardo Ullio opened Sotto Sotto, he envisioned a restaurant serving all of the delicacies from his childhood. 12 years later, the cozy, authentic Italian spot in historic Inman Park has been named Atlanta’s Best Italian Restaurant by Bon Appetit, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, CitySearch, Atlanta Magazine and AOL Cityguide. The focus of Sotto Sotto’s kitchen is the creation of authentic Italian food with flavors developed from centuries of Italian culinary traditions, from Carnaroli rice risotto to a whole roasted fish."

 The ambiance is very European feeling as well - vibrant, bustling, loud (at times), and you will seat very close to the tables next to you. But the waitstaff are excellent, and it's an experience you won't regret.

Here are a couple of pictures of the interior.  The main dining room:

Photo Credit: Urbanspoon




















And the bar area:

Photo Credit: Urbanspoon


 They have a fun mixologist for the cocktail lover (now who would THAT be?), and they have an outstanding wine list, so if you arrive early, go to the bar area and start the evening off right.

 Once seated, the bread and olive oil are on target:
And I'm already looking forward to the Carpaccio (my favorite) and the ANTIPASTO MISTO:

The hard part will be deciding upon the main course - too many fabulous choices! More after dinner....

 Here's a sample menu:

 Aperitivi
AVIATION $10.00 Leopold's gin, luxardo maraschino, lemon juice, creme de violette QUEEN'S PARK SWIZZLE $10.00 El dorado 12-yr. demerara rum, mint, lime juice, angostura ARTICHOKE SPACESHIP $10.00 Maker's mark bourbon, cynar, lemon juice CHARLES WIDMORE $10.00 Isle of skye 8 yr. scotch, orchard apricot, luxardo, dash absinthe NEGRONI $10.00 Plymouth gin, campari, carpano antica formula sweet vermouth GREEN MONKEY $12.00 St. george's absinthe, lime juice, dolin dry vermouth, simple syrup ORIENT EXPRESS $10.00 Mekhong thai whiskey, orange liqueur, lemon, meletti amaro, bitters MINUTEMAN $10.00 High west silver whiskey, cocchi americano, dolin, meletti amaro CHAMPION $10.00 Pimm's no. 1, junipero gin, lemon juice, ginger juice, cucumber LOVELY DAY $10.00 Miller's gin, st. germain, lemon, fee bros. Grapefruit and angostura bitters
Antipasti
ASSAGGIO D'OLIO $3.00 A tasting of premier estate bottled olive oils. Ea ANTIPASTO MISTO $18.00 Assorted italian meats and cheeses, olives, mushrooms BRESAOLA DI TONNO $12.00 Cured sashimi tuna, radishes, arugula, olio verde PEPATA DI COZZE $11.00 Mussels, lemon, olive oil, calabrese peppers CAPE SANTE $14.00 Seared jumbo sea scallops, cannellini beans, arugula, truf!e oil VONGOLE $13.00 Clams, white wine, garlic, mint, tomatoes, calabrese peppers CARPACCIO DI MANZO $10.00 Brasstown beef tenderloin carpaccio, arugula, lemon, panna BUFALA E PEPERONI $11.00 Bufala mozzarella, roasted bell peppers, anchovies, capers CAPRESE $11.00 Heirloom tomatoes, bufala, olive oil
Insalate
INSALATA MISTA $7.00 Assorted greens, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil CAESAR SALAD $8.00 Romaine hearts, classic caesar dressing, shaved parmigiano reggiano BRESAOLA DELLA VALTELLINA $11.00 Bresaola, arugula, celery, parmigiano, lemon, olive oil BIETOLE E RAVANELLO $9.00 Roasted beets, radish trio, hazelnuts, arugula, lemon, olive oil FARRO $9.00 Farro, heirloom tomatoes, celery, cucumber, red wine vinegar, olive oil
Primi
SPAGHETTI DEL PESCATORE $19.00 Spaghetti, mixed seafood, spicy tomato broth SPAGHETTI ALLE VONGOLE $19.00 Spaghetti, clams, tomatoes, calabrese peppers,garlic, olive oil TORTELLI DI MICHELANGELO $17.00 A recipe from his letters: veal, chicken, pork ravioli, butter sage sauce PAPPARDELLE AL SUGO D'ANATRA $18.00 Fresh pappardelle, braised duck ragu SPAGHETTI ALLA BOTTARGA $18.00 Spaghetti, sardinian mullet roe, onions, lemon, parsley RAVIOLI DI MELANZANE E NOCI $17.00 Eggplant and walnut ravioli, tomato basil sauce TORTELLI ALLA MENTA $17.00 Ravioli stuffed with ricotta and mint, tomato basil sauce RAVIOLI NUDI (NAKED RAVIOLI) $17.00 Spinach and ricotta gnocchi STROZZAPRETI ALLA SALSICCIA $17.00 Hand made priest strangler, sweet sausage ragu PANSOTI ALLA SALSA DI NOCI $17.00 Summer greens potbellied ravioli, walnut sauce TAGLIATELLE AI FUNGHI $17.00 Tagliatelle, wild mushrooms, cream LASAGNETTE ALLA BOLOGNESE $17.00 Baked lasagnette, bolognese, bechamel RISOTTO AI GAMBERI E ZUCCHINE $19.00 Carnoroli rice, rock shrimp, summer squash RISOTTO MANTECATO $17.00 Carnaroli rice, caramelized onions, 12yr balsamic, reggiano RISOTTO AI FUNGHI $17.00 Carnaroli rice, wild mushrooms, reggiano RISOTTO AI FRUTTI DI MARE $19.00 Carnaroli rice, mixed seafood
Secondi
TONNO AGLI AGRUMI $29.00 Seared tuna, bianchi di spagna beans, mixed salad, chive oil COSTOLETTA DI VITELLO $38.00 Oak roasted veal, wild mushrooms, natural jus POLLETTO AL LIMONE $19.00 Wood roasted free range all natural lemon chicken,potatoes, spinach SALMONE ARROSTO $26.00 Pan seared scottish salmon, black rice, seasonal vegetables BISTECCA DI MANZO $34.00 All natural brasstown ribeye, arugula, potatoes PESCE ARROSTO $28.00 Wood roasted whole fish, roasted potatoes, garlic spinach HALIBUT ACQUA PAZZA $27.00 Tomatoes, wine, garlic, pantelleria capers, peperoncino, wild oregano
Menu for Sotto Sotto provided by Allmenus.com

UPDATE:

Our birthday dinner at Sotto Sotto did not disappoint!  It was a fabulous meal with wonderful ambiance and a fantastic server - perfect ending to our daughter's 22nd birthday (week!).  Note to self however: when dining in Atlanta and living in the suburbs ALLOW FOR A LOT OF EXTRA TIME!  Traffic on a Friday night is always rough, and this night was no exception.  Perhaps if we had made the reservation time a bit later than 6:30PM it would have been better?  But we arrived about 5 minutes late, and I had hoped to get there 15-20 minutes early and enjoy a leisurely drink in the bar prior to being seated.

Upon walking in the door we were greeted by their fantastic host - he's upbeat and outgoing and makes you feel welcome immediately.  We were seated in their main dining area - which we had not been in before.  It gives off an entirely different vibe - tables aren't as close together, and as a result, it's not nearly as loud as the front room.  There's also a lovely courtyard that's an option, and on a perfect weather night (like last night) it would be a wonderful dining experience.

Anyway, our server arrived quickly and took our drink order.  We decided we wanted cocktails (something they pride themselves on), and we all went with a Lovely Day (Organic vodka, St Germain, lemon, fee bros. Grapefruit and angostura bitters), a delicious vodka/lemon concoction that was sublime.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

They also have an extensive wine list divided by regions in Italy.  We went with a Pinot Noir with our meals, and it was very good.  There aren't many choices under $45 per bottle however, so be prepared for that.  Many on the menu were well over $100 per bottle.










They brought the fabulous bread and olive oil, and we went with the above Antipasto Misto.  The cheeses, olives and cured meats were so so good (not to mention the garlicky marinated mushrooms!).  I felt like we were transported back to Italy for a moment.

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue



















We were tempted by a risotto special that was mixed with parmesan and strawberries (may sound awful, but trust me, the ingredients sounded like they'd be amazing together), but we all decided salads were the way to go.  One of us chose a caesar salad (Romaine hearts, classic caesar dressing, shaved Parmigiano reggiano), which did not disappoint, and the other two went with their beet salad or Bietole e Ravanello Roasted beets, radish trio, hazelnuts, arugula, lemon, olive oil.  


It was very very good:



For a main course, two of us HAD to have the Halibut (Halibut Acqua Pazza  Tomatoes, wine, garlic, pantelleria capers, peperoncino, wild oregano).  


Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
It was served atop bread and covered with tomatoes stewed in wine and garlic.  There could have been more capers for my taste, but then again, I LOVE capers.  It was a light and delicious dish.

















And the other had a ravioli dish with artichoke hearts and marsapone that was light and yet creamy and delicious.  


Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
























Finally, as it was our daughter, Caroline's, birthday, she got to choose the dessert - she went with white chocolate bread pudding - white chocolate bread pudding with brandied cherries and almond slivers.  It's one of the best bread pudding's I've ever tasted - we all loved it!


Photo Credit: Cate Bogue



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