Sandy Springs knows a hit when it tastes it. Five years ago, chef-owner Jamie Adams created il Giallo Osteria & Bar on the top parcel of the movie theater tucked in an eclectic mix of eateries and businesses facing Roswell Road. First one has to master the pronunciation “il jah lo,” combining the Italian words “yellow” and “mystery,” evoking the hues of the yolk and sun and the inviting aromas and grains in the towns and villages of coastal Italy. And if that beckons more intimacy, read on to see how Adams is taking willing customers later in the fall on an “eat your way through” trip to his favorite gourmet haunts in Italy.
Note that Adams and co-owner Leo Moura came from now-closed Buckhead Life’s Midtown Veni Vidi Vici, along with native Atlanta pastry chef Libby Muldawer.
The expanse of the glamorous bar and interior shares the open kitchen, displaying the art of making fresh pasta in full view. The mirrors are artistically etched, reaching out as an exotic satyr, a mythological Greek figure reputed to have human legs and goat-like horns, and an etched map of the Italian regions. The artists were Patrick Nguyen and Helen Choi.
More on pasta: tagliatelle and pappardelle for starters. Their agnolotti with brown butter, sage and pecans was featured on the Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.”
Our carefully considered bill of fare:
Melanzane: Eggplant, sweet onion, tomato stew, cacio di roma and grilled ciabatta. This dish was rich and perfectly cheese-crusted.
Caesar salad: Grana, focaccia breadcrumbs, anchovies. The presentation of this shareable salad was an artistic bundle, and the thicker less salty white anchovies (optional) were a standout.
Two whitefish entrees rang true to their coastal origins.
Halibut: Braised lacinato kale, sweet onions, crispy fingerlings, pumpkin seed and salsa verde. The two-inch thick steak was moist, as often the best treatment for halibut is not overcooking. Pumpkin seeds appeared on more than one dish that night.
Trota: Grilled North Georgia trout, caramelized root vegetables, cipollini onion. It was deboned well and complemented the sweet and sour agrodolce sauce. The root vegetables echoed sweetness.
Dolci: Crostata di mela, Georgia apple, morello cherries in a warm cobbler with vanilla gelato. Tangy combo, irresistible cherries, even out of season.
Tiramisu: “Giallo style”- deconstructed mascarpone pick-me-up. Not as rich as others and void of the traditional lady fingers, but a good ending with its espresso coffee sauce.
Suggested for next visit:
House specialty Pesce Intero: Whole roasted fish with capers and lemon.
Salmone: Grilled big green egg short smoked salmon, chickpea puree, broccolini, and warm wild mushroom vinaigrette.
Cavolfiore arrosto: Roasted cauliflower and lemon basil salsa verde.
With well-run management on site, Adams said, “Since we opened on ‘Gialloween,’ as we call it, Halloween 2015, both the Sandy Springs and Jewish communities have truly embraced not only our restaurant, but my partner Leo and myself as individuals.”
As in past Jewish community events, il Giallo sponsored one of the food stations for the opening night of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre Feb. 10.
“Our guests have become an extended family to all of us at the restaurant,” Adams said. “It’s not unusual to see locals dining at il Giallo several times a week; and we take pride in knowing all of their favorite dishes, exactly how they like them prepared, which cocktails they like to start off with and the wines they prefer with each dish. It’s that familiarity that makes il Giallo feel like an extension of their homes – where they don’t have to cook, but rather have the opportunity to truly relax and feel special,” he said.
“Several of our great guests are planning on accompanying me on a highly curated trip to Italy in October. We’ll visit the Piedmont region, where I spent several years cooking at wonderful restaurants. I’ll be giving an insider’s view of my favorite places in Italy. This trip is really an extension of what they experience every time they dine at il Giallo.”
Week of Passover Chef Special
Matzoh ball soup
For those who prefer, il Giallo will offer matzah on the tables instead of bread.
Slow-roasted smoked brisket, braised cabbage
Ice Cream, matzoh toffee