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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Battuto Italian Kitchen

This past Sunday I finally made it to Battuto, owned by Gene and Julie Gates from the Lite FM morning radio show. I've heard them on the radio for many years now and thought it was interesting when I learned that they were opening up a restaurant. I expected it to be in uptown or downtown of course, so I was pretty excited to find out they've chosen North Dallas and it's close to me! :) 

Battuto Italian Kitchen 
18101 Preston Road, Ste. 204C 
Dallas, Texas 75252 
(972) 930-0558 
Price: $$-$$$ 

They feature rustic Italian cuisine with farm to table ingredients and homemade pastas and pizzas. I've seen the menu before and everything sounded delicious. 

We had a reservation on Sunday at 6:30PM. When I arrived, the restaurant was pretty empty. I had no idea the place was so big! The decor was simplistic and unpretentious. We all commented that we liked the look of the restaurant. Although it was freeezing in there! It was already pretty cold when I walked in but our table was under a vent or something. Brrrr! The place filled up more after we ordered. The clientele was pretty eclectic. This can be a date place or place for family dinner.

Three of us arrived on time and were waiting on the rest of the group. We were starving though so we got something to share. It would've been nice if we got some bread for the table or something. But oh well... 

Mac and Cheese Pizza (with Nueske's bacon) $9~ 
It just sounds awesome, doesn't it? It looked and tasted amazing. Served on a wooden board, I liked the presentation. The cheese was hot and melty, lots of bacon on there, and the mac was cooked well. Wasn't too overcooked and soft. The crust had great texture too. I'd totally recommend this. My first time having mac and cheese on a pizza! 

While we were waiting for our food, Gene Gates came around and greeted us. We told him we were starving and he personally served the pizza to us. When he walked away, I told my friends, "I think that's Gene Gates from the morning show!" haha. That was pretty cool. 

For the actual dinner, I ordered the Cauliflower Soup (with roasted garlic) $6~ 
One of my friends got the same. The soup was huge! I can probably dunk my face in the bowl, is how big it was. haha. Good value for the money! The soup was yummy. Pureed smooth and velvety. Topped with bits of roasted garlic, you can definitely taste the roasted garlic pureed into the soup as well. The bread on the side was also very good. Nicely charred on the grill but still soft in the middle. Great for dipping into the soup! I had to take half of mine to go... My friend killed hers!! Impressive! 

We also both got Gnocchi Modo Mio "My Way" (an homage to the amazing talent of Chef Rino Brigliadori light-as-a-cloud potato pasta with pesto tomato sauce) $14~ 
I love gnocchi, so it's hard for me to not order it when I see it on the menu. Although there were plenty of other options I wanted to try. The gnocchi were soft and pillowy. The texture was very nice. I also liked the pesto tomato sauce. It had a lot of flavor. I would've liked to have some sort of meat in there and/or something crunchy to give more of a textural contrast... but overall I enjoyed it. Again, the bread went amazingly with the pesto sauce. My favorite gnocchi of all time is still at Michael Chiarello's Bottega in Napa, but this one is also pretty dang good. 

One friend ordered the Bison Pasta (Comanche buffalo and pork ragu with handmade pappardelle noodles) $13~ 
It was one of my options when I looked over the menu. I love pappardelle and you can definitely tell the pasta was made in house. The flavors were very light, not bland, which I liked. The bison wasn't too dry (I think that's because it was mixed with pork). My friend enjoyed it. 

Another friend got the Branzino (whole grilled Mediterranean sea bass with vegetables) $24~ 
It's a whole fish, minus the head. The fish looked very impressive when it was served. The grill marks looked awesome! The fish was super tender, flaky, moist and lemony. It was very good! The sides however did not live up to the main protein. The potatoes were a bit too salty and the fennel and (I think) zucchini? slaw/salad was kind of bland and boring. I think some sort of rice/cous cous/quinoa would've been a better side option? Just a thought. hehe. 

Gene had come back to chat with us a bit later. One of my friends told him we were fans of the radio show. :P He was super nice and we talked for awhile. Chatted about good restaurants around town. I also gave him my card for CHOMP! :D 

We were all super full but I can't try a new restaurant without dessert! Especially when I've been seeing delicious pictures on yelp. hehe. 
I got the Red Wine Chocolate Cake (chocolate ganache and topped with fresh raspberries) $9~ 
We all shared it. It was beautiful. haha. It was clean and sophisticated and the layers were thin and delicate. But it was super rich, moist and full of chocolatey goodness!! I loved the ganache. I'm assuming it's a creme anglaise on the bottom, that was good too. The fresh raspberries paired really well with the rich chocolate. It was a little pricier than I expected (there's no dessert menu), but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I got to take part of a piece home and it's even good out of the fridge 2 days later! NOM! 

It was a delicious meal. I had pretty high expectations after reading all the reviews on Battuto and I wasn't disappointed. The service was good, the owner is very welcoming. This location hasn't been very lucky in the past, but I hope Battuto sticks around for a long time! I'll be back for sure! :) 

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