Back in Atlanta and this time I’m taking a little break from the wonders of Buford Highway and investigating a new restaurant in Sandy Springs, Cibo E Beve. The newest restaurant from the owners of 101 Concepts, Cibo E Beve is run by chef Linda Harrell. For more on this background information, I’ll defer to a few local bloggers, Foodie Buddha and Atlanta Restaurant Blog.
While names like 101 Concepts and Linda Harrell carry a fair amount of weight, the person that really interested me was the man behind the bar. As we were seated, Jennifer told me that the bartender from Iberico, Justin Hadaway, had been lured to this Sandy Springs location. I had both enjoyed and been perplexed by his cocktails in Decatur, so I was eager to see if his style had changed in the move.
Described as his take on an old fashioned, it was obvious that Hadaway had not lost his preference for a large balls of ice in his cocktails. At first I thought this was a deconstructed cocktail where I had to mix my own sugar, liquor, and orange, but it ended up as more of a double cocktail where the ingredients above the ice ball mixed with those below to make an even more potent drink. It was a good drink but that ball of ice is always cumbersome.
I’ve mentioned it on this site previously but when I see arancini on the menu, I have to order it. This meal at Cibo E Beve was no exception. I never turn down the opportunity to see another interpretation of a holiday project.
From the first bite, it was obvious that these were well made arancini. A crispy crust gave way to tender short grain rice with a pungent cheese filling. A simple tomato sauce rounded out the fried goodness; the only thing missing was a meaty filling, but these arancini Siciliani still past muster.
There were plans to explore some of the salumi board, but when I was told nothing was made in house, that plan was rejected. It’s a little sad but Atlanta has spoiled me when it comes to housemade charcuterie. As a result, we decided to enjoy salami in another way with the Soppresate Piccante pizza.
With nice hints of char and a thick, pleasantly chewy texture, it was only bettered by the addition of an obscene amount of soppresata. A touch on the spicy side and greasy from so much meat topping, this pizza reminded me of a high-end sbarro where I needed to dab each slice with a napkin.
However the pizza entered a new realm with the introduction of a few pepperonata peppers. Almost instantly, this pizza jumped into contention with Antico’s diavolo pizza for my Atlanta favorite. These peppers were only introduced to the equation when the waitress came by to check on our table. I mentioned how much better the pizza would be with peppers and she returned with a cup full of pepperonatas. Apparently these were originally on the soppresate piccante pie but customers complained it was too spicy.
Saving the pasta for another time, I took our waitress’ suggestion and ordered the osso buco d’agnello all’estate for my entrée.
This was meat and potatoes, Italian style. The orange and fennel braised lamb was perfectly rich and tender and went quite well with the sweet sauce. All the while, the crushed new potatoes performed the fantastic trick of being both chunky and smooth. There wasn’t anything particularly complicated about this dish, just well braised meat and starch, great for a cold, winter night but still good for early September.
Needless to say, this first encounter with Cibo E Beve was a successful one. The service was excellent, even if it did border on being too attentive, and the food was well worth the short drive from Brookhaven. A nice feature is that the pizza, bar and antipasti menu is available until 2 am Tuesday through Saturday. Late dinner cravings aside, I’m still hoping to see Cibo E Beve turn the corner and start curing their own meats, making their own pasta, and baking their own bread, but even if they don’t, Cibo E Beve is still a solid addition to Sandy Springs.