Davanti Enoteca - Bold Italian Fare - CLOSED

2013 list of restaurants that have captured our love and admiration
cactuschowdah
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6 years ago

I was waiting for someone else to do this one (uhockey probably), but I can wait no more.

I was first introduced to the madness/greatness of Pete DeRuvo at Cuoco Pazzo- the duck, the fall-off-the-bone pork, the polenta and meatballs. I was bummed when he left, and beyond excited when he landed at Davanti. The food nerd thread is long and full of praise/pictures, so I won't recap everything, but what makes it for me is the Foccacia De Recco- quite simply, this is like nothing I've ever eaten before, and is a must-get every time I go. I think it says something that I've never had a bad meal here, and everything is consistent- no "off nights" here for me.

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Davanti Enoteca Discussion Thread:
Davanti Enoteca - Peter DeRuvo's New Digs

Davanti Enoteca
www.davantiscottsdale.com
6316 N. Scottsdale Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85253
480-659-1800
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Lunchbox
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6 years ago

cactuschowdah wrote: The food nerd thread is long and full of praise/pictures, so I won't recap everything, but what makes it for me is the Foccacia De Recco- quite simply, this is like nothing I've ever eaten before, and is a must-get every time I go.
Thank you thank you thank you... I've been waiting for someone to nominate them... You're right, that foccacia is out of this world. If they ever took that off the menu (which I highly doubt they ever would) I think there would be an uprising of food nerds the likes we've never seen before. :mrgreen:

Great nomination.
-- LBX

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themis
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6 years ago

I have not yet been, but I have been a huge fan of Peter DeRuvo since he first came to to the Valley. I watched and waited those long years at Sassi, where press release after press release was sent out touting the multi-million dollar building and the views, and I kept thinking: What about the food, the talent in the kitchen, where's the press release about your chef? There, you could keep to the safer bound menu or you could look to the chalk specials and see what he was really throwing his passion into and order that. I expected him to get swept over to Las Vegas, like easterners-moved-west tend to do. When that didn't happen, I kept watching him shuffle around town and hoped he would wind up someplace where he could stretch his wings a bit. Davanti may be corporate, but it looks like they let him play to his own strengths, and not stifle his creativity, which is very promising.

I submit that nobody in town can do a better porchetta.
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BarbaraToombs
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6 years ago

This sounds like a great nomination, although sadly I, too, have never been! Will have to rectify that SOON!!! :)
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uhockey
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6 years ago

Having been 3x now and also naming DeRuvo to the OAD (the only Phoenix restaurant/chef on a list with places like noma, etc) list I'm torn on this nomination - I LOVE the space, I LOVE the food, and Chef DeRuvo is an excellent guy....but this is part of a chain, and as much as I like it, the Focaccia is not his creation - nor is much of the menu. Sure Scott gives him a lot of creative control, but the VAST majority of the menu is stock - you can get it in Chicago or San Diego.

I'm probably the restaurant's most vocal supporter here and moreso on CH and (yes, sadly) even Yelp! but I just don't know that it fits the idea of FNA.
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

Who are you and what have you done with uhockey?! :-)

I'm more than a little surprised to find that I might actually be a little more positive on Davanti for an FNA than you are, though I'm also a little torn on it. I know you brought up the inspiration for Food Nerd Approved in the discussion thread, but I'd also point out that the FNAs are not the GNRs. The "idea" of the FNAs is really up to us, I think there's going to be a lot of kind of feeling out the character we'd like this thing to take on this year, and I think this is one of the nominees that's going to test that a little bit. While I won't pretend that my personal hopes are to see the FNAs recognize more homegrown places that get less coverage, those are my personal hopes, and as I've said elsewhere, a community has to find its own voice. If the community is head over heels in love with Davanti and everybody would like to count it among the Food Nerd Approved, there's no reason it shouldn't be, IMHO.

But I also hesitate to get behind this one, and for some of the reasons that you mention, but for me I think it has less to do with the fact that it's an import and more to do with the fact that I feel like it's still kind of finding itself. First, my experience there has been a little more of a mixed bag. I've had a few fabulous dishes, and I've had a few that I was really disappointed by as well. And though it's hard to know for sure, it feels like that's partially because it's being pulled in a few different directions -- the corporate menu, DeRuvo's contributions, sometimes very disparate styles of Italian that are all kind of trying to figure out how to coexist. I love DeRuvo, and there's stuff here I'm really excited about, but when I think about it potentially being named an FNA, what pops into my head isn't "not this kind of restaurant," but rather "not quite yet." My gut is that rather than seeing the restaurant honored as it is, I'd feel better about revisiting it a year from now. I like it a lot and I'm excited about where it's going, but in ways that I'm having a hard time articulating, I feel like it's not quite ripe, and I'm hesitant to pick it before its time.

Does that make any sense?

All of that said, it's been a few months since I've been, and I'd certainly defer to those who have been more recently on a lot of these judgments.
Dominic Armato
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uhockey
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6 years ago

I certainly hear your point here and since it is probably my favorite restaurant in the city - a place I know I could take ANY visitor and have a good meal - the items that people RAVE the most are simply imports.....it'd be like naming Mastro's as an FNA because the Buttercake is so damn good. :-) For me, the best dishes I've had are DeRuvo's - not stuff cribbed from Harris' original menu in Chicago, and while that doesn't mean the focaccia is any less awesome it just doesn't seem to 'represent' Phoenix the way the other choices here do.

As much as I like Davanti more than noca, FnB, etc, those places feel more "Phoenix" to me, more "FNA" to me, if that makes sense.

Trust me, I have no problem with Davanti getting more attention - that place should be packed every night (and there should be 2 hour waits for a table when he makes duck,) but something about the name does it for me. If it were called "Peter DeRuvo's Italian Restaurant" then I'd be all for it....as illogical as that sounds. :-)
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

No, I understand exactly where you're coming from, and to a great extent I feel that as well. Like I say, I think a lot of my feelings on the subject will depend on how the place continues to develop, and that's why I think I'm staking out the "not this year" camp. But I could be shoved out it... I really want to hear what everybody else thinks.

Incidentally, I love the discussion that this is generating. This is exactly how I hope these things go. Some places will be a shoo-in with everybody gushing, some places for one reason or another will get folks debating. Particularly in our first year, when we're still getting a sense of what this is going to mean to us going forward, I think this is awesome.
Dominic Armato
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BarbaraToombs
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6 years ago

Ooooh...I wasn't aware this was part of a chain, which is a little off-putting, as uhockey points out. Peter DeRuvo or not, I have always felt that since this board was started, it was to promote independent eateries (but I could be wrong?). That Davanti is part of a group makes me feel not so excited about it for an FNA---although I sure want to go try the place now!!! :D
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uhockey
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6 years ago

BarbaraToombs wrote:Ooooh...I wasn't aware this was part of a chain, which is a little off-putting, as uhockey points out. Peter DeRuvo or not, I have always felt that since this board was started, it was to promote independent eateries (but I could be wrong?). That Davanti is part of a group makes me feel not so excited about it for an FNA---although I sure want to go try the place now!!! :D
DeRuvo is in New York currently - go when he gets back. ;-) It is great - but the focaccia the world goes ape about is cribbed from the Scott Harris library.
sourcetags8codes
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6 years ago

Truthfully I haven't been but I guess I've had much different meals when he was at Prado, and coco pazzo. I need to check this place out still. I wouldn't put him up there with Noma though. I want to like this place when I go though. Jus the past few experiences haven't been fulfilling to me. I have my fingers crossed though.
cactuschowdah
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6 years ago

Totally get the opinion on "chains" (I would try to find another word though to describe Davanti- when I think chain, I think Olive Garden) being part of this discussion. I guess my point of view when I was thinking about my nomination (other than the fact I suck at reading rules and didn't realize you could only nominate one place) was "what place would I be bummed out the most about if it went out of business, and where COULD that happen based on the crowds I've seen"? So I came up with Davanti, and I guess based on that criteria, even though I didn't comprehend I only had 1 nomination, I still feel good about it, because I want to keep eating there, dammit!
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uhockey
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6 years ago

sourcetags8codes wrote:Truthfully I haven't been but I guess I've had much different meals when he was at Prado, and coco pazzo. I need to check this place out still. I wouldn't put him up there with Noma though. I want to like this place when I go though. Jus the past few experiences haven't been fulfilling to me. I have my fingers crossed though.
I did not put him up there with noma. I named the chef whose restaurant I ate at in 2012 who I thought had the most potential to become even better. It was between Peter and the young man at Sixteen in Chicago.
sourcetags8codes
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6 years ago

Ah misunderstood sorry about that uhockey. Have anyone been for brunch?
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Skillet Doux
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6 years ago

sourcetags8codes wrote:Ah misunderstood sorry about that uhockey. Have anyone been for brunch?
Uhockey has.
Dominic Armato
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BarbaraToombs
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6 years ago

Cactuschowdah: upon further reflection and hearing a lot more about this place (and indeed, we're not talkin' Olive Garden here!), I am now behind this nomination and can't wait to get there!
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uhockey
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6 years ago

sourcetags8codes wrote:Ah misunderstood sorry about that uhockey. Have anyone been for brunch?
We really should organize a Phoenix Food Nerd brunch at this place sometime...
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BarbaraToombs
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6 years ago

Hear hear, uhockey!! :)
M_L
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6 years ago

uhockey wrote:We really should organize a Phoenix Food Nerd brunch at this place sometime...
I could get behind this if there is a weekend I am not working.
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uhockey
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6 years ago

M_L wrote:
uhockey wrote:We really should organize a Phoenix Food Nerd brunch at this place sometime...
I could get behind this if there is a weekend I am not working.
Thinking February. I'll get a thread up in the Events board.
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