Saturday, February 2nd, 2013
Italian food….it’s not my thing. But it was me that recommended Double Zero Napoletana for a group of us last week, due to its convenient location and because of my selfish craving for their authentic Neapolitan style pizza.
The cavernous space is divided by a long bar on one side and a communal table down the center with a single row of bare bulbs encased in glass above it, imparting a warm glow to the dark wood furnished dining room. Full length burgundy curtains add drama.
Our group of six met at the bar, immediately impressed by the stellar service. LC ordered a martini which was shaken furiously, creating those tiny ice particles that LC loves. Plus, they had his favorite blue cheese stuffed olives. Embarrassingly unfamiliar with Italian wines, I was thrilled to see they offered many by the half glass, so I began sampling some different varietals.
With an 8:30pm reservation, we were hoping to be seated a bit earlier, but instead were still waiting at the bar. So we decided to order a snack of butternut squash frittelle, crispy fritters filled with a creamy and slightly sweet squash puree. They were served on a smudge of caramelized onion aioli and a handful of watercress, then drizzled with lemon honey. We devoured them.
Even at 9:00pm, the restaurant was abuzz with folks enjoying good food and wine. Unsure how much longer our wait would be, LC and I ordered the pizza that I was craving, the maiale, a decadent combination of sweet and savory toppings. Braised Nueske’s bacon, mushrooms, goat cheese, garlic, fig-onion agrodolce, olive oil, vanilla salt, and fresh arugula hit all the right notes. Double Zero serves all of their pizzas whole, with scissors to cut your own slices. Love it!
As soon as our pizza arrived, however, our table was ready. The manager stopped by with a complimentary dish of the butternut squash frittelle, a peace offering for our lengthy wait. Nice.
Having perused the menu, RT, who is Italian, commented that authentic Italian food is simple, hinting that the dishes at Double Zero are a bit too complicated. Much like its Spanish influenced sister, The Iberian Pig in Decatur, I find that the menu here suffers from the same overuse of ingredients. Nevertheless, the result at both locations is deliciousness.
A prime example of this overuse of ingredients is the capesante, the seared scallops entree served with corn-arbol sauce, pearl onions, summer squash, seasonal mushrooms, crispy artichokes, and saba vinegar. Both RT and his wife CT ordered them. Each of the three scallops per dish was the size of my palm. LC and I were offered bites and agreed that it was a fantastic dish.
But first, CT had a salad composed of marinated beets, frisee, grapefruit, goat cheese, and candied pecans, dressed simply with a red wine vinaigrette. We tried it as well and found the flavors terrific.
LC and I split the osso buco entree, a roasted pork loin the size of my forearm. The menu described its accompaniments as creamed farretto with dried apricot, pork demi, and crispy parsnips. I really thought it was sweet potato puree and spaghetti squash, but having had five half glasses of red wine, you can’t really rely on my assessment. However, I do know for certain that the meat was incredibly tender.
After we polished off our entrees, the manager returned with yet another peace offering, a flute of prosecco for each of us. Although we were stuffed, I coerced LC into sharing a bowl of gelato with me, pistachio and coffee. Having eaten copious amounts of gelato in Europe, the American version is always too sweet and creamy, as was Double Zero’s, but the flavors were pleasing. It was a sweet ending to a lovely evening with friends and family.
5825 Roswell Road 404-991-3666