Pricci restaurant offers diners the chance to experience regional specialties of Italy for just $36. But how is it?
From the mid 1990s to the about 2005, The Buckhead Life Restaurant Group restaurants were THE restaurants for fine dining. My favorite was Nava. The southwestern restaurant had a beautiful decor and had seating on multiple levels. And the cuisine was magnificent. Needless to say, I was pretty sad when they closed.
About a decade ago I had a date with a guy whose great idea it was to go to Oyster Fest having done zero research on festival times or parking. We arrived to find out Oyster Fest was over but he confidently said “My back up plan is for us to go to Atlanta Fish Market.” When I asked if he’d made a reservation he shook his head, and Saturday evening at 7 pm, the wait was nearly two hours. Yeah, that relationship didn’t last very long.
The point is, people were lined up to dine at this and many other Buckhead Life Restaurant Group restaurants. Now, I’m not sure what is going on with the restaurant group. They’ve shuttered several restaurants, my favorite, Nava being revamped into a Ford Fry concept. I’ve had the impression Buckhead Life Restaurant Group felt they didn’t need publicity, so I was surprised when Pricci reached out to me to invite me to try their regional menu.
Upon entering Pricci, the open kitchen (a staple of the 1990s restaurant design) is a focal point of the restaurant. To one side there is a bar which had live jazz on the Thursday evening we visited. Looking around the restaurant, it felt as if it is stuck in the 90s, down to the servers with their white jackets and bow ties. Oh, and on the way to the bathrooms, you must walk by a cigarette machine. Is $6 a pack a good price? But decor is just one part of the experience.
The regional menu I was sampling at Pricci comes from Trentino. Chef Piero came over and enthusiastically recommended I stick with that as the dishes leave the menu after each month. Each menu features an appetizer, entree and dessert for $36. Chef Piero says he wants to make it affordable for a couple to dine out. Add wine pairings for an additional $15. The first wine pairing was a Brut. Nice way to kick off your meal – I could see couples really enjoying this or a girls night out.
You can get a soup or salad as part of the regional menu at Pricci, but why would you when you could also get Crispy Cod over Polenta or Beef Carpaccio with pickled Chanterelles and fried shallots? Although we enjoyed the carpaccio, it was the cod that was the standout of the two. It’s just so perfectly fried and mixes wonderfully with the creamy polenta. And the portion for both appetizers was quite large too.
It’s nice that this isn’t a simple menu like you find at most restaurant weeks. There are four appetizer and four entree choices, albeit with two of them having $3 upcharges. Chef was very proud of the Speck and Porcini mushrooms dish, but I had my heart set on the Veal Short Rib Risotto and my hubs wanted the Black Pied (Pork) Shoulder Steak. This was served with a charred cauliflower that was delightful. Pricci’s Short Rib Risotto from the regional menu was tasty but I thought the presentation was a bit strange. Instead of the short ribs being sliced and served atop the rice, they were separated. Do you know someone who doesn’t like it when their foods touch each other? This is the dish for them.
If you’ve ordered the wine pairings you have a choice of a white or red. The red option, MezzaCorona Cabernet Sauvignon, was atrocious. I would have ordered a glass from the regular menu but we didn’t see our server again to ask. In fact, we ate, and sat with our plates in front of us for about ten minutes before my husband got up to find someone who could box up our entrees.
When our server returned, she admitted she didn’t care for the wine but offered no swap (not that I wanted any at this point). She took the liberty of ordering us one of each dessert. One, an Almond Gelato was average, but Apple Strudel with Almond Chantilly Cream (pictured below) was quite delightful. The dessert cocktail? A blueberry liquor with mascarpone ring was strange and small. I’d rather have had just one quality red to go with the dinner than the the three pairings. Maybe Pricci should just do two pairings and up the quality of wine with entree, opting to skip a dessert wine?
If you do come in to try any of the regional menus at Pricci, which they change monthly, skip the pre-selected wine pairings and order one off the menu yourself. The food was impressive and for a high end restaurant, $36 for three courses is a deal. I hope Pricci will work on improving their service.
Disclosure: Pricci invited me to try the Regional Specialty Menu. But the opinions are my own.
500 Pharr Rd
Atlanta, GA 30305