It’s funny how cravings hit some times. Standing around having a Negroni with a friend, I said, “man, I could really go for some good Italian food – it’s been a while.”
And with that, we had a dinner planned for a group of us the next week. When he told me we had a Friday night reservation at Buckhead Life’s Pricci, I was intrigued. I haven’t been there in years, and they really aren’t on my radar for Italian food. I generally gravitate towards La Pietra Cucina and Sotto Sotto when I get the pasta hunger.
Probably the last I’d heard of Pricci was on Twitter a few months ago, I saw the Blissful Glutton mention they had a special menu featuring the cuisine of Milan. The three course fixed menu was a steal at $29 a person, or $39 with wine pairings. It looks that each month or so they are rotating through various regions of Italy, as on our visit they had a similar offer, though this time it was a solid looking tour of Torino.
Once we settled in with some sick Champagne and ordered food, our first round of dishes came quickly – service was expeditious and super attentive, as is the case at most Buckhead Life Restaurants. Their restaurants emanate professionalism.
Charcuterie was nice, if not a little plain. Veal meatballs were soft and moist and lovely, and a wood grilled shrimp dish with preserved tomato was well prepared with resonating flavors. But I found the tuna carpaccio with a more than healthy dose of cracked pepper, balsamic, and…guacamole?! to be unnecessarily complex.
Rose di pasta, pasta “roses” with bolognese and cheese were satisfying, not super memorable for the lightness of the pasta or the intensity of the bolognese, though it’s an ideal sharing dish.
Katie was the only person at the table that ordered the Torino menu, which was perhaps a mistake. The roasted pumpkin soup she started with was velvety and intensely tasty.
The pizza at Pricci is perhaps overlooked. The first time I tried it years ago I wasn’t very into it, though at that time I wanted every pizza to be like Varasano’s, and pizza preference is a supremely personal taste memory. Expectation can be everything. On this visit I found Pricci’s version to be expertly simple – light, crisp, not heavily seasoned, with sharp sauce and a touch of flour on the cornicione.
One of many wines, we sampled a funky Paolo Bea orange wine I picked up at Le Caveau. It was crazy, with a honeyed/butterscotch nose, and a more acidic than expected palate. The table was very split on the wine, it’s definitely not what many expect, but I find it very interesting, the way the wine changes, with the contrast of flavors you’d find in an oxidized wine, but with loads of acid.
Linguini fruitti di mare was my pasta selection. It was enjoyable; the dried pasta isn’t anything special, but it was cooked properly, the right amount of sauce, with a well prepared and ample selection of shellfish. Nicely done.
My entree, the Boston Bay sole, was very disappointing. The skin was appropriately crispy (though doused in too much caper and butter sauce), but the fish was overcooked, with a stringy, mushy texture. A very unsatisfying way to finish the meal.
We had a fun night with friends, and service was wonderfully attentive and accommodating, but I’m not in a big rush to go back to Pricci. I thought it was quite hit and miss, which isn’t too unexpected when I consider the size of the menu. There were few memorable dishes that would bring me back, save for the pizza, which should be on everyone’s list when considering lunch in the Buckhead area. The $29 menu is tough to beat too – that’s just $4 more than their Buckhead Restaurant week menu, which is this week by the way. If you don’t want to brave the craziness and sure-fire service miscues of restaurant week (power move), personally, I’d wait and give a visit for Pricci’s regional menu.