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A 45-day dry-aged bone-in rib-eye takes center table surrounded by appetizers such as burrata with smoked trout caviar. 

Bull Market

by Chris Watkins | magazine | November 13, 2017

EXPECTATIONS ARE THE confluence of perception and hope. And that matters in Atlanta’s dining scene when there’s a new restaurant opening almost weekly to chomp at the bit of our preconceived notions of flavor and service. We’ve come to expect greatness from Charleston, S.C.-based restaurant group The Indigo Road. It charged into the market with an authentic experience in Italian cuisine (Colletta), meticulously prepared slabs of meat (Oak Steakhouse) and superbly sliced sushi (O-Ku). Now the group doubles-down on its pasta portfolio with added meat moxie and wine aplenty at Donetto.

Named after the largest Chianina bull to ever exist, the West Midtown concept hits all the hallmarks of stunning design in an expansive 4,000-square-foot space steeped in industrial underpinnings and lush woods. From the caramel-colored leather banquettes and steel seating to an open kitchen and wood-fire grill, it’s like a man cave decided it wanted to be a restaurant.

Helmed by executive chef/partner Michael Perez, Donetto zeroes in on the flavors of the Tuscan region with elevated Italian fare meshing meatcentric forays and a rotating list of handmade pasta. Antipasti starters like the frittelle, a playful pâte à choux funnel cake adorned with 18-month cured prosciutto and stuffed and covered with pecorino Romano, is a worthy intro. As is the robust flavors from pork cheeks with roasted shishitos; grilled romaine with Bufala mozzarella; and burrata with smoked trout roe that awaken the palate for the journey ahead. A trek that advances through an array of housemade pasta classics like tagliatelle with clams and white wine; spaghetti alla carbonara; and simple lumache with tomato, basil and Parmesan. The adventurous will find more modern takes in the smoked beef and salsa Roja stuffed mezzaluna, and fusilli with smoked fish—all available in personal and family-style portions. On the meatier side, steak Florentine in 32- and 40-ounce portions are meant to be shared, but great for a Man vs. Food-style challenge. Or be a little more subtle with 14-ounce 45-day dry-aged bone-in rib-eye with onion ash aioli. And to showcase Perez’s creativity in the kitchen, his play on a bucket of fried chicken takes the form of the crispy fried rabbit with assorted dipping sauces.

The cocktail selection goes equally whimsical in entries like the bourbon-heavy A Midsummer Night’s Dram with Carpano Antica and bitters; the vodka, ginger and orange cream sipper Orange Is the New Crack, and the gin and absinthe rocker Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder. Coupled with Negronis on draft, craft beers and a mélange of Italian wines, Donetto’s attention to detail in delivering a modern Italian experience on the Westside is a story worth reading—over and over again. 

976 Brady Ave. NW, Westside
Appetizers, $4-$18; pasta, $14-$26; entrees, $18-$65; sides, $8-$12; desserts, $6-8
Mon.-Thu., 5-10pm; Fri.-Sat. 5-11pm; Sun. 12-5pm