Food Chatter: Q&A with chef Cucina Asellina’s Marco Porceddu


Cucina Asellina, the latest Italian concept from New York-based One Group, opened last week next to its sibling, STK, in the sleek 12th & Midtown development. The intimate space with a soaring ceiling offers dishes like mushroom and fontina flatbread, goat cheese ravioli, and pappardelle with sausage.

The deft touch that characterizes Cucina Asellina’s fare comes from its executive chef, Marco Poreddu, a native of Sardinia who is also an author and sommelier. Poreddu developed the menu and concept for the popular Ristorante Asellina at Gansevoort Park Hotel in New York, which was used for the basis for the creation of Cucina Asselina.
Q:  How would you characterize Cucina Asselina—a hipster haven? A boutique neighborhood trattoria?  
MP:  We hope that the restaurant is a welcome addition to Midtown and are very grateful for the warm reception we have received from our neighbors. It is our goal to provide a comfortable environment for our guests in addition to serving high-quality ingredients prepared in a straightforward style at an affordable price point.
Q:  How is Cucina Asellina different from its New York sibling?
MP:  Cucina Asellina is smaller in size, has a smaller menu, and is more casual than Ristorante Asellina. We want to be a neighborhood restaurant that feels like an extension of your home. Although it is more casual, we hope to deliver the same high quality food and service as the New York original does. We are hoping to appeal to everyday diners and not just serve as a special occasion restaurant.

Q:  Where have you dined while in Atlanta?
MP: I  was pleasantly surprised when I came to Atlanta. The dining scene here is incredible! For a great steak and a great time, STK Atlanta! Also, I have been to Holeman & Finch, Antico Pizzeria, and Barcelona Wine Bar.
Bake Magazine is holding a contest entitled America’s Best Bakery and the ATL’s Sublime Doughnuts is a finalist. The voting is open to the public until March 30. 

Hop City Craft Beer & Wine will launch their 2012 “Growlers Give Back” program on March 15. Every month, the store plans to give a percentage of sales from growlers (refillable and eco-friendly glass jugs of beer available for to-go purchase) to a selected Atlanta charity.

Atlantic Station. The Midtown Patch is reporting that Virginia-based BGR: The Burger Joint will open in the former Doc Green’s spot by mid June. BGR burgers are made of “prime, dry-aged, all natural, hormone free, grain-fed” beef and other varieties including turkey, lamb, tuna , lobster, veggie, and four varieties of grilled cheese sandwiches.

Buckhead. Jonathan Jerusalmy, former executive chef at the St. Regis Atlanta, has been named executive chef and director of culinary operations of Sea Island resort on the southeastern coast of Georgia. The St. Regis Atlanta in turn announced that Joseph Trevino, previous at the Westin Charlotte, is its new executive chef.

We reported by Twitter last week that Texas-based Del Frisco’s Grill is slated to open in the former Craft space this winter. The Atlanta Business Chronicle ran a story the next day explaining the restaurant will offer creative bar nibbles, playful cocktails, a seven-hundred bottle wine bar, premium steaks, flatbreads and “two-fisted” sandwiches, and according to sources close to the project, a design by the Johnson Studio that includes a buzzy bar, a “cozy wood and leather dining room,” and lively second-level terrace facing the people-watching on Peachtree.

Decatur. Decatur Metro first reported that Feast closed this past Saturday, February 25.

The Amateur Gastronomer is reporting that PitaHouse, a fast/casual Middle Eastern cafe, has opened at 2050 North Decatur Road. 

Downtown. Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint has appointed Jaaion Barnes as its new executive chef.
Inman Park. Inman Park Restaurant Week will take place from Monday, March 26, through Sunday, April. Each of the fourteen participating restaurants will offer a three-course menu, priced at either $15, $25, or $35.   

Midtown. David Bradley, currently the chef de cuisine at Ecco, will oversee the kitchen at Lure, Fifth Group’s 150-seat seafood restaurant slated to open in July in the former Vickery’s space at 1106 Crescent Avenue. Lure’s menu will feature a variety of seafood from across the globe cooked a 1400-degree charcoal-burning oven.

Virginia Highland. In honor of National Pig Day on Thursday, March 1, beginning at 6 p.m., DBA will suspend its regular  menu and replace it with an all-you-can-eat buffet for only $20.

Question of the Week: What new metro-area restaurant offers Bulgarian cuisine?

PS. The answer to last week’s QOTW—What former Atlanta top toque is now at Dean and Deluca?—is Michael Tuohy, formerly of Woodfire Grill (and Chef’s Cafe before that).