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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Valenza Italian- Brookhaven

Warning:  The following may be unsuitable for children under 13 and bad waiters
Who said the local Tratorria was a thing of the past?  Last night we went to Valenza in Brookhaven and had a wonderful meal (and even better company).  You can tell they are zeroed in on quality, service and giving you the lost art of the "personal touch. "
It’s nice to have a neighborhood joint where everyone knows your name.  By the way, has there ever been a better sitcom character than Cliff Clavin?
Valenza is owned by the same people that own Haven, another phenomenal restaurant. 
 Shockingly their best appetizer was the brussel sprouts, called the Cavolini.  My wife HATES brussel sprouts and LOVED them baked with Pancetta.  But as the saying goes, bacon makes everything better.
Then there was another “sneak up and hit you” moment with the apps.  Fried Capers.  I’m not a big fried food fan, but this was pure magic.  It was part of the fritto misto appy, which I also have to say the calamari was average.  Nothing this small has packed a punch since mini me was genetically engineered by the one and only Dr. Evil.
The biggest hit at the table, was the simple yet delicious Capellini.  Angel Hair pasta tossed with a light tomato sauce, basil and parmesan.  If you have an unadventurous sort in your group, you have a go to dish. 
Personally, I had the Saltimbocca, heritage pork tenderloin, wrapped in prosciutto with sage and rabe.  Again, meat on top of meat is a big winner.  And the sauce was delicious.  The portion was generous, but the potato’s were a little much (maybe it’s just me getting OD’d by potatoes during the holidays).  The presentation was the best thing I’ve seen since Ted was doing Bong Hits with his harem of hookers.  If you haven’t seen Ted, please do.  It’s some of Seth McFarlane’s best work.

The fish special was a Snapper in a light white wine sauce and was really good.  We also ordered the Gnocchi, which I personally though was decent, but not great. 
We had a unique dessert, the crostata- Blueberry crostata with rosemary balsamic gelato.  Very unique and the rosemary is a delicious touch.
I will mention again the service was great.  Jose (I’m not sure what part of Italy he’s from) was perfect and I would recommend him to be your server.  Jose had great suggestions on food and wine (we would have missed the brussel sprouts without him) and the GM and Executive Chef made appearances at our table as well.  Service has become such a enormous part of how much I like a restaurant these days. 
About every three months I end up at that damn Loco’s in Buckhead and the service is always horrific and even worse ungodly slow.  It could be from the whiffs of the cronic smell emanating from the kitchen.  But they have the worst and consistently worst service I have experienced in Buckhead.  The the Einstein Bagels on Howell Mill is giving them a run for their money these days though.  Do yourself a favor and go to Goldbergs on Northside and Paces Ferry.
I also have to thank my Mentee from the University of Georgia, Maria (last name omitted to protect the innocent, you know, just in case one of my 5 readers is a stalker).  This is her favorite restaurant and she pushed me to come here, so here it is Maria!
I’m sure you’ll email me or tell me your thoughts on the venue and/ or great TV Sitcom Characters.  I dare you to beat Cliff.  Here are a couple of videos to give you today’s moment of Zen.

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