Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Atlanta Restaurant Preview: Double Zero

It seems like all of the really exciting things going on it Atlanta's dining scene are happening in hoods like Decatur and Inman Park. That's why it's especially good news that there's an exciting new restaurant in Sandy Springs. Double Zero, an upscale southern Italian restaurant, comes from the team behind Decatur's Iberian Pig.

The huge space is dark but open with a hipper vibe than most fare near the perimeter. Long communal tables sit under glowing globes with smaller tables surrounding them. When we visited, the bar was packed and seemed conducive to date night cocktails. The only drawback to the space is the large open windows that take you out of the cozy atmosphere by letting in bright light from outside and a view of the not-so-aesthetically pleasing Roswell Rd. and the cheesy bar across the street. Nothing blinds can't take care of, though!

The cocktail list is sophisticated and adds an Italian twist to the old school cocktail craze. The liquerati (ooh I just coined that and kind of like it) has been abuzz about barrel aged cocktails, so Mr. AT sampled the barrel aged negroni. At $15, I'm not we're sold on the value of barrel aging, but it's a cool idea worth checking out. Fortunately their wine list is very reasonable if you're not feeling quite so indulgent. Next time I'd like to check out the LPR, with lambrusco rosso (LOVE!), vermouth, balsamic syrup and strawberry. I love strawberries and balsamic as a dessert, so it sounds delicious.

There is lots to choose from on your culinary tour through Campania. The starters are divided into meats, cheeses, salads, antipasti and small plates. We chose burrata caprese, lemony arancini, and the Cotica di Maiale (crispy pork belly and a fried egg on rustic bread). Prices are reasonable given generous portions, and dishes are hearty and flavorful. We particularly enjoyed the Cotica - there's just something about a fried egg and anything that is served in a cast iron pan. It's crunchy and savory and rich all at once!

The real focus of Double Zero's hype is its pizza. The restaurant's name comes from the only type of flour that can be used for true Neapolitan pies as required by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana, which regulates Neapolitan pizza. Pizza, of course, is about more than just the flour, so right up front they're sporting two handcrafted Ferrara ovens, which have been built in Naples for three generations. 

The result for our Caprini pizza, topped with braised goat, red onion marmalade, blue cheese, fingerling potatoes and grape tomatoes, was a charred crust with pleasingly chewy insides. If you're tentative about trying goat, don't be - this is the best tasting goat I've had with none of the gaminess you often find. Because the pizzas are best served hot while the crust is still puffy, they do not offer take out or pre-slice the pies.

If you still have room after all that, there are pastas and secondis on offer, too. This isn't just the typical red sauce Italian fare either. You can choose from such unique dishes as Setaccio dell’ Immondizia, Strozzapretti pasta with grape tomato, hazlenut, pistascio, pine nuts, golden raisins, currants, lemon, roasted garlic, capers, chick peas, basil, parsley, Scamorza cheese or an Insalata di Carne, a 16 oz. dry aged Delmonico rib-eye with fingerling potato, pancetta, Aglianico demi-glace, fig-onion agrodolce, fresh local greens, Blu di Bufala cheese, tomato, olives. Not shy with the ingredients, are they? There are definitely enough interesting things on the menu to keep you intrigued on multiple visits, and it's all easily shareable.

I for one am still eying this dish and hoping to convince several of my nearest and dearest to share it with me:

L’Arrosto – “The Roast” — pound and a half roasted pork shoulder served in cast iron for the whole table with the following 00 house made accoutrements: pizza nuvole, pickled vegetables, grilled radicchio salad, pepper jelly, roasted garlic puree, Calabrian chiles, apple-almond mostarda — 29 (feed 4-6).

The restaurant comes complete with a little cafe, opening in July, serving gelati and sorbetti, espressos, breakfast and lunch. We finished our gargantuan meal with a panzanella with berries. Simple and light enough to eat after a fairly heavy Italian meal.

Considering how new it is, service is already moving along pretty well, and the Castellucci family seems to have a good handle on how to produce tasty food in stylish digs. I'm betting the well-heeled Sandy Springs set and other nearby residents are going to go nutso for Double Zero, and I'm happy to see an interesting non-chain in the area.

Double Zero
5825 Roswell Road
Atlanta, GA 30328

Double Zero Napoletana on Urbanspoon



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