I had my second meal last night at Tierra di Sienna, a new Italian restaurant located next to the Fox theatre, on the corner of Peachtree and Ponce. Both times I've been there now the food has been excellent, and since I'm tired of the noise level at Sotto Sotto, I'm glad these folks have set up shop. The menu is eclectic, and happily steers clear of the usual Greatest Hits served in most Italian restaurants. Two of the starters really stand out: a Pecorino flan served warm over raw julienned vegetables. A nice contrast in textures, and the flan has a rich, deep flavor. The cauliflower bisque served with large grilled shrimp wrapped in proscuitto was my other favorite.
Typical of Italian restaurants, the menu divides the pasta course and the meat course. I haven't yet made it to the meat courses. Both times the pastas seemed so appealing, and the meats didn't seem as enticing. Between my dining companions, I've tried every pasta on the menu, and you really can't go wrong. My favorite is the house-made fettucine with duck ragu and parmesan cheese. Simple, and unusual to get a meat sauce with the deeper flavor from the duck.
Desserts are excellent here, and one of the reasons I returned a second time so quickly. As an ex-pastry chef, I'm kinda picky about desserts, and I don't think Atlanta is yet a great town for sweet endings in restaurants. Aria and Floataway have the best, I think. Anyway, desserts here are pretty damn great. Do not pass up the plate of cookies served with a glass of Vinsanto. There are two kinds of cookies on the plate: biscotti, which are lovely to dip into the vinsanto, and an amaretto-ish, soft cookie rolled in powdered sugar that is nothing less than heaven. Both times the members of my table rolled their eyes in pleasure. Good stuff. I want the recipe. They also serve a yogurt mousse with warm berry sauce that's wonderful. The first time I went, they were offering a chocolate-orange tart served with TOBACCO sauce. Yep. And you know, it was damn good. But I think they've taken it off the menu because most folks are afraid of it.
Wine list is good, nice range of prices and styles, and a good selection by the glass. The interior is a stylish mix of light woods and metals. Service can be great or spotty, I had different experiences the two times I went. They also offer validated parking across the street at the Georgian Terrace, since parking can be difficult on nights that the Fox has a show going.