Yesterday, I was writing about Italian food for the magazine and my mind wondered back to Modo Mio, the restaurant that opened on Frankford and the Tollway in 1997. The chef was Rino Brigliadori. I can still remember a gnocchi dish, his tiramisu, and a lovely frozen peach he filled with house-made peach gelato. I named Modo Mio one of the 12 Best Restaurants of 1997.
Over the years, I spoke with him many times. He moved from Modo Mio and opened Positano followed by Bene Bene. He was a charming man and always a pleasure to talk with whether the conversation was about food or the pitfalls of the restaurant business.
Last August, I learned he was ill. Yesterday, I did a search to see if I could locate him and I was horrified to find his obituary. He passed away, at the age of 68, on November 16, 2012. I believe his son, Rino Brigliadori, Jr., is in Dallas and perhaps other members of his family. I would like to express my sorrow for their loss and my tardiness at discovering this sad news.
Update: Steven Doyle sends word: “There is an homage to the gnocchi on Gene Gate’s menu at his new restaurant, Battuto’s. I believe Brigliadori’s son gave him the recipe, or at least his blessing.”
Jimmy’s Food Store has put together a fun evening filled with fine wine and food. From Italy: Guido Folonari, heir to one of the most historic wine families in Italy, and his “three killer B’s” (Barolo, Brunello di Montalcino, and a blend that represents perfection from the prestigious Bolgheri vineyard in Tuscany). From Dallas: Chef Gorji, chef-owner of Canary by Gorji, and maker of “three other killer B’s” (buttered shrimp, boar, and bean ragu).
This wine dinner takes place on Monday, March 11 and is a steal at $85 plus tax. Wines and menu below. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and go.
Really? Holy cow. I just flipped over to EaterDallas and saw the headline: Hofmann’s CEO Gets Sued for Using Company Money as His Personal Slush Fund.
Frank, I know you’re a tough guy but, dude, you don’t ever want to piss off Phil Romano. (Right Dotty?) Especially on his home court of Trinity Groves. Allegedly, Zaccanelli used $34,000 to pay for non-business expenses that include $1,ooo at a Dallas nightclub, a house and a job for his mistress, and other ditties for his wife. Romano and several other investors are suing Zaccanelli.
Excuse me for being naive but how do people think they are going to get away with crap like this? Really? A house lease is considered a “facility payment?” Oink.
The first Hofmann Hots opens tomorrow at 11AM in Trinity Groves. I bet it will be packed now.9 Comments »
Remember the good old days when we all hung out at Ben’s Half Yard House on upper Greenville? We slammed back beer and played darts and got into rowdy brawls and listened to Ben Williams tell tall tales of his days as a Navy Seal and member of the Special Forces. Ben sold this place eight years ago and disappeared. Today he emerges wearing an Italian suit and generally managing the business at Arcodoro Pomodoro.
You’d be surprised to learn how hard it can be for dining critics to find volunteers to join them on a review. So imagine my joy when, after inviting friends and family to join me at Kenny’s Italian Kitchen, I was flooded with gushing replies. “Oh, please,” my sister-in-law said. “I’m dying to go there.” We sashayed up to the hostess stand on a stormy Monday night around 6:30 and were placed on a 30-minute waitlist. The bar was three deep, and the dining room was jammed. Two hours later, I left confused. There is nothing special about the food at Kenny’s. It’s basically enormous portions of familiar red-sauce-Italian fare served in a Godfather-meets-Sopranos setting complete with stereotypical red-and-white checkered tablecloths anchored with straw-wrapped Chianti bottles.18 Comments »
After six weeks chef Julian Barsotti is making some changes to Carbone’s, his Italian-American Deli. Most of you know, it’s not unusual for any new business to bend and stretch original plans once customer feedback starts pouring in. Barsotti is dedicating to improving. “In the first few weeks we were figuring out our identity and it drove me crazy because we didn’t have a clear concept to evolve within,” Barsotti said. “Now I have clear vision and I am excited about how we can deliver hospitality and create delicious Italian American food. I also learned that working in a set menu format is contrary to my ingrained cooking philosophy.”
Some of Barsotti’s new plans call for more Texas produce, a menu that will change with the seasons, lower prices on dried pasta ($8), and increased the size and filling of pasta ratio in their raviolini. “I am making and effort to source more American artisan dry goods for the market component,” Barsotti said. “I recently sourced heirloom dried runner cannellini beans for retail sale.” He also says: “We are putting up a bunch of salumi and will have some unique salames at both restaurants in the near future. Stuff like cresponi, felino, fegatino and hunters loop that you rarely see outside of Italy.”
His also altered the deli’s concept:
We will keep our counter service model during lunch and serve a menu that consists of sandwiches, salads, and soups. We may add a few pastas in the future. I have changed dinner to table service. First come, first served. From 2:30 to 5:30 there is a limited menu in addition to the market items. On Sunday we open at 10:00 and will serve brunch until 2:00. Sunday dinner, the family style tasting menu, will start at 5:30. We will take reservations for that dinner and the cost will be $45 or $50 depending on the menu. All menus are available to view on the website.
Dan Redman is lucky salesman. He sells Damilano wine from the Piedmont region of Italy. His biggest problem is not selling wine. The biggest bump in his job is that he never has enough wine to sell. Last week Dan’s Mosaic Wine Group brought Brand Manager, Barbara Levi Cavaglione, to Dallas to showcase the wines. It was the last stop of her 7- day 6-city tour. I was an invited guest at the tasting, which took place at the Dallas epicenter of Italian wine: Jimmy’s Food Store.4 Comments »
Carbone’s, a week-old Italian restaurant, is already turning into a neighborhood destination for Park Cities residents eager to try Julian Barsotti’s interpretation of Italian-American food. Customers have been trickling into this part-grocery store, part-deli in a steady stream ever since Barsotti’s grand opening last Tuesday, keeping his staff on its toes. “It’s been very busy. I didn’t anticipate being this busy right off the bat,” says Barsotti.
When I visited Carbone’s on Wednesday, it was 1 PM and all the tables (save two, maybe) were taken. Barsotti was crouched down next to an elderly couple, easy to spot in his Adidas shoes and red plaid shorts, and probably on the receiving end of the couple’s congratulations for the elegant layout of his store.
Jump for more of Desiree Espada’s photos. Continue reading "First-Take Restaurant Review: Carbone’s"
Chef Julian Barsotti, the young wizard behind Nonna, is finally opening his new Italian-American deli/grocery store/restaurant at the northeast corner of Wycliff and Oak Lawn Ave. on Tuesday, April 17. Carbone’s Fine Food & Wine is partly inspired by his grandfather’s old shop in New Jersey, and partly fueled by a trip he took to Torrisi Italian Specialties in NYC, where an old school sandwich shop made Barsotti think about bringing a taste of that to Dallas.
First and foremost, Barsotti tells me, Carbone’s identity will be a restaurant. Sunday nights the shop will turn into a spot where people can get their Italian fix with a set-price menu starting at 5:30 PM. Six days a week, customers can order off the deli menu and get anything from homemade pasta (spaghetti bolognese, eggplant parmesan, porchetta, etc.) to one of the heroes (roast turkey, Italian combo, chicken parmesan, etc.). If they fall in love with the fresh cured salami in their sandwich or the dressing in their Caesar salad, well, that’s easy. Barsotti can point them to the products in the grocery store section of his shop, all of which are sourced from American makers with a couple exceptions. Continue reading "Carbone’s Fine Food & Wine to Open on April 17"
After my online musings over whether Capriotti’s would be a good 50-store fit for our beloved DFW, the big boys over at Capriotti’s delivered four ginormous plates of sandwich samples to me and the office mates. D employees gathered ’round the choices yesterday, carefully selecting between the Bobbie (turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and mayo), Homemade Turkey, Italian, and Slaw Be Jo (roast beef, provolone, Russian dressing, cole slaw). The conclusion? Capriotti’s sandwiches are – hands down – wayyyy better tasting than Jimmy John’s limp excuses, and if it continues to preserve historic buildings the way it is, I’m personally a-okay with its expansion into DFW territory as a big fan of the Bobbie. (Thanksgiving leftovers in a sandwich = genius) Just lay off on all the mayo, will ya?
Jump for high fives Continue reading "Sandwich Review: Capriotti’s Sandwiches Get High Fives"15 Comments »
I stalked TX Delizioso on Twitter all weekend until they confirmed @carol_shih: “Come see us in the Arts District this Tuesday!” There was no way I was going to miss the debut of Dallas’ first pizza truck, so I quickly grabbed photo intern Micah Nunley to take some snaps of Sydney Brown and Lauren Noblett’s newest set of wheels: a truck offering made-to-order pizza and other Italian entrees.
Here’s how my lunch went down.2 Comments »
In the spring of 2005, I took a press trip to a hotel on the island of Sardinia, about 120 miles west of Italy. Forty-five seconds after the tour bus entered the walled community, I realized the property was a horrid Disneyland version of an Italian resort. It could have been in Frisco. Brand-new buildings were painted to look like ruins, and the hotel workers were dressed in various historic Italian costumes. So I planned an escape.
From my room, I called Lori Farris back in Dallas. Her husband, Efisio Farris, and his brother, Francesco Farris, then co-chefs and co-owners of Arcodoro & Pomodoro, were born and raised in Sardinia. For more than 20 years, the Farris brothers have fought to get Sardinian food the respect it deserves in Dallas. When Lori answered the phone, I asked her to help me get to Orosei, the hometown of the Farris brothers.
A few years ago, when I first came to Dallas, I was quickly told I had to try Cavalli Pizza. Indeed, Cavalli may have been the first restaurant I ever ate at in Texas. It was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing, for I dreamed and envisioned the entire Dallas pizza scene to be equal to Cavalli in quality and flavor. A curse, for I quickly realized that, for the most part, Cavalli was an anomaly in the pizza world. My standards were set high, and there was no way I was lowering the bar for the strings of tasteless pizza garbage many other pizza joints presented. Most people know that they were the first in Dallas to throw around the term “VPN certified”, an accolade which at first meant little more to me than a Citysearch recommendation, but which I have now come to associate with quality and a strict attention to detail.
The Lombardi family’s La Fiorentina Tuscan Grill was packed earlier this week when the restaurant and Park Place Dealerships hosted a white truffle dinner and auction. The proceeds were donated to the Make-a-Wish-Foundation, the entity that makes it possible for children with life-threatening illnesses to pursue their dreams. The first recipient, Chris Greicius, who was age 7 in 1980, dreamed of being a police officer. The foundation made it possible for him. Another wished to be a zookeeper. Another wished to be a Blue Angel. The foundation found ways to make all of these possible.
Alberto Lombardi has downgraded his upscale Tuscan steakhouse to a more approachable Tuscan grill. The menu prices and offerings have been changed to reflect the new “rustic, comfortable interior” which is “like being in an old Italian farmhouse.” I’m not sure of the fate of the La Bistecca Fiorentina, but Lombardi claims La Fiorentina Tuscan Grill is “my most authentic Italian restaurant.” No specifics of the new menu were released. Looks like fine dining is going to have to wait a little longer for its comeback.
Aldi prices at Jimmy’s? Yes, and these babies won’t rot your teeth. Hurry, they are closing out Campodesole Wines from Emilia Romagna: Selva Albana Secca, San Pascasio Pagadebit, and Durano Sangiovese are only $4.99.
It’s also pre-order Italian cheese time at our favorite little grocers: Burrata ($8.99 each), Crescenza Stracchino ($6.99 each), Robiola ($4.99 each) Caprino ($3.99 each). Deadline is Friday (Sept. 30) at 3:00PM. Paul will email you when the cheese arrives. Order via email email@example.com.
Last night I decided to drop into Princi Italia, Patrick Colombo’s new spot in the old Poplolos space in Preston Royal. The executive chef, Kevin Ascolese, was Columbo’s chef at Ferre in West Village. Before that he cooked at Salve and Mi Piaci. I also spotted veteran chef/baker David Brawley in the kitchen. If my brain synapses are functioning correctly today, I believe Brawley and Ascolese were together at Salve. (I can still taste the bread he made there.)
The space, designed by JonesBaker, has been completely redone into a sort of contemporary Texas-Tuscan farmhouse. The ceilings have been raised and I loved the rustic basket “chandeliers.” The room is light and open. I feel like the bar area may prove to be too small once word hits the surrounding neighborhood. Two flat screen TVs can be seen from any spot in the house. (Not so Tuscan.)
However, the food was classic Ascolese which translates into finer versions of “safe” Dallas Italian food. I could eat the tagliatelle Bolognese every night. The sauce was barely a sauce. The light, house made noodles were tossed with fresh tomatoes, basil, small bits of meat, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Not a drop of liquid pooled on the bottom of the plate. Which I guess is a good thing because there would have been nothing for me to sop it up with. No bread. Patrick, you hired David Brawley and don’t serve bread on the table? Yes, he can make pizza dough; he proved that at Fireside Pies. And Princi does have a wood burning pizza oven. I guess I’ll eat pizza next time.
I almost choked on a salad of rapini and arugula. The greens were blanched and formed a tangled salad of soggy leaves and stems which were topped with a salty, in a good way, blob of burrata cheese. Once again I yearned for bread. The broth beneath the weed was a drinkable liquid of olive oil, specks of red pepper, and lemon. The plates of Italian “specialties” such as grilled Colorado trout, veal Slatimbocca, and grilled wild Alaska salmon going to other tables looked interesting. The portions are just right and priced from $13 to $20. The list is full of nice Italian reds, whites, and sparkling wine most of which are in the mid-$30 to $50 range. You can order a carafe of several interesting wines for $15 to $31 (12 ounces).
Princi reminds me of Popolos when they first opened—it’s a perfect fit for the demographics of the nearby neighborhood. However, times have changed and Princi is much more casual. Shower shoes and shorts and school uniforms were the norm last night.
Patrick Colombo has been in the restaurant business for nearly three decades. He spent nine years as senior vice president and co-founder of the 21-store national Italian restaurant, Sfuzzi, Inc.; he was executive director of food & beverage operations at Mansion on Turtle Creek Hotel; and he co-founded Nick & Sam’s, and is currently president and CEO of Restaurant Works, Inc., the hospitality management company that developed Cru, Ferre Ristorante e Bar, Victory Tavern City Grille and Steel Restaurant & Lounge.
So when the Colombo family took a culinary tour of Italy, eating their way through Venice, Tuscany, Florence and the Amalfi Coast, Colombo was inspired to bring another Tuscan dining operation to Dallas.