Smack on the border between Buckhead and Vinings lies the Post River complex, by far the most scenic Post property, mimicking a live, work, play European village with its expected display of beautiful landscaping.
The restaurant anchor is well positioned up the hill with free parking and easy access. Last filled by the River Room, there has been a trail of openings and closings. Hopefully this time Adalina’s flair and delivery of flavorful Northern Italian cuisine will hold the more permanent glue. Chef Joshua Hopkins is well credentialed, coming from serious award-winning restaurants such as Bacchanalia and Empire State South.
Northern Italian food reflects the eight upper regions from Piedmont to Emilia Romagna, which de-emphasises olive oil and heavy red sauces in favor of light cheeses, butter, risotto, polenta and trout jumping in a local brook, and sometimes mushrooms and corn.
Adalina ups the ante a notch further by featuring locally grown produce and sustainable seafood. One would dine elsewhere for Southern dishes like baked ziti and eggplant parmesan.
The space is open and modern with no feel of crowding. The tables have a white marble look, which pairs well with the sea foam blue banquettes rimming the room. Mini terrariums are attached to the wall. The noise level could come down a degree, but the open kitchen and friendly, but not overbearing staff make for a lovely night out. Interestingly the hostess reported that about half the patrons are Post residents, some of whom come almost every day.
The server recommended summer cocktails like “Three Sisters” — vodka infused with berries, which were mashed and soaked for three days. Other sassy names like “I Am the Walrus” contained absinthe. Our Merlot was smooth and reasonably priced by the glass, but a tad skimpily poured.
What we went crazy over:
The Eggplant Crema was superb, scoring both baba ghanoush and pickled watermelon rind. A marriage of opposites, smooth versus crunchy, mild versus sweet, with flatbread wedges baked in the pizza oven. The flavours don’t fight, rather our diners fought to get more of it.
Little Gem Caesar salad featured grilled broccoli, purple cabbage, preserved lemon, breadcrumbs (no croutons) and parmesan was worth scraping the plate and enough to share.
The Roasted Cauliflower starter was smothered under arugula, preserved lemon and pistachio sauce. A smattering too rich for my taste, but creative nonetheless.
Cappelletti golden tied “purses” in mushroom brodo featured a mélange of mushrooms. The most unusual is the Loud Mouth mushrooms. It made a very sharable, conversation piece display.
Halibut was paired with snap peas, fennel and peaches (they gladly ditched the prosciutto addition listed on the menu). The sauce was light and the fish was fresh, bright, white and firm.
To take only a bite of dessert, I couldn’t let loose of the “No Bake” Mascarpone Cheesecake with roasted pineapple, ginger, white chocolate and pecans. The nuts and the pineapple were really rock stars in this heavenly fluff.
Next time, focus will be on the Rosé Sangria, Rainbow Trout with caponata, stuffed peppers, corn risotto, and salsa verde, and fried artichoke with banana peppers, arugula, lemon aioli and gremolata (a fancy term for lemon zest and parsley).
Although we didn’t sample them, pizza choices abound on the menu. Some intriguing toppings are fig preserves, peppadew peppers, wild oregano and zucchini. Peppadews are known for their nutritional value and come in mild and hot varieties.
Adalina deserves attention and the delight of sneaking away from the crowd in a “getaway” ambiance amidst a gust of an experienced chef’s gourmet fare.
Adalina is located at 4403 Northside Parkway.