Omnivore - A remarkable new trattoria

I lunched today with my friends Brad and Todd at La Pietra Cucina, which I mentioned in my post about Jolie Kobe earlier this week. Here’s some advice: Go as soon as you can.

Even Brad, eternally fussy about Italian food since he lives in Rome much of the year, was surprised by the quality. The 50-seat dining room is tucked into a corner of the old MidCity Cuisine space, whose larger room is undergoing remodeling. La Pietra will take over the entire space next month.

For now, the restaurant is serving the same menu for lunch and dinner and prices are low by the usual standards of food this good.

Brad ordered grilled tuna tagliata (top photo) with Vidalia onion caponata and a tomato passato. The tuna was actually cooked medium instead of medium-rare as ordered, but was nonetheless delicious. Very. He ordered a side dish of brocollini with toasted garlic.

Todd ordered a panino stuffed with chicken breast, pancetta, parmigiano and Dijon mustard (above right). On the side: sweet corn mixed with bits of chicken and fregola, which is a couscous-like pasta. Buttery, sweet, slightly crunchy — all in each forkful.

My own dish was a first-time-ever for me. It featured a gnocchi made of bread turned black by squid ink, and combined with shelled mussels, Thai basi and heirloom cherry tomatoes. I want more!

Desserts were also way above average, especially this pyramid of pistachio semifreddo with chocolate sauce. We also ordered a chocolate gelato whose flavor had us swooning, although the gelato was unfortunately half-melted when it came to the table.

Executive Chef Bruce Logue calls his cooking “ingredient-driven” and “progressive Italian,” which Brad called a perfect description since the restaurant is cooking with refined Italian style but not trying to replicate dishes whose ingredients aren’t available.

The restaurant is located in One Peachtree Pointe, 1545 Peachtree St., 404-888-8709.

(Photos by Cliff Bostock)

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