Friday, May 13, 2011

Valenza - Atlanta

Have you ever left a restaurant with a feeling of ambivalence? There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with the service, ambiance, or food, but there was nothing that stood out and made you take notice. It can best be summed up in the immortal three letter word “meh”, “m” “e” “h” “meh”

It’s not often that a restaurant rubs me this way, but it did occur the last time I was in Atlanta. Due to traffic, I had arrived in town a little late. As a result, Jennifer and I were looking for something nearby, preferably in the Brookhaven part of town. We settled on Valenza, a small Italian restaurant on Dresden Drive.

Even though the appetizer section of the menu lists a salumi e formaggi plate, I went with something a little out of the ordinary, the polpo.

Grilled octopus, potato salad, pickled red onion, celery and mint make for quite a lively appetizer

The octopus was nicely chargrilled and perfectly tender while the celery and red onions provided a pleasantly tart contrast. I didn’t really see the point of the potato salad. The potato slices were undercooked and were an odd addition to the plate.

Although the promise of silky short rib was enticing, I went the pappardelle for an entrée. I suppose the allure of a veal, pork, beef, and pancetta ragu was just too much to resist.

This was a plate of big flavors and big textures. The thick ribbons of pappardelle, the hot, well-rounded ragu, and the homemade ricotta made for a very nice combination.

With so much meat, cheese, and wide flat noodles, this was eerily similar to a plate of lasagna, but in a good way.

There wasn’t anything wrong with Valenza, the service was decent, the food was, for the most part, well balanced and quite filling, and it was an overall pleasant experience. I just can’t shake the neither here nor there impression I had about the place. In the end, this is a nice little Italian restaurant for the neighborhood, not worth going out of your way, but convenient for the residents of Brookhaven.

Valenza Address & Information

1441 Dresden Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30319 // 404.969.3233 // Valenza Website // Valenza Menu // Valenza Reservations

Valenza on Urbanspoon

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