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Executive chef Michael Patrick describes Forza Storico as a "Roman beer and wine bar," but there will still be plenty of pasta.
Among the four new properties announced for Westside Provisions District are a new Italian restaurant from the Storico Fresco team and an Israeli restaurant from Bellina Alimentari's owner.
I worry the classic Manhattan is going the way of the martini: another opportunity for barkeeps to futz around with annoying techniques and show-offish ingredients. Plus: In previous decades, chefs had to be Japanese if they wanted customers to take their sushi seriously. They had to be born in Spain to attempt paella. This attitude seems quaint in an era when scholarly approach trumps birthright.
While Storico Fresco is a brilliant store, it’s not much of a restaurant. I had two meals from the menu and two others that sampled from takeout cases, and almost every single dish from the brown paper packages and plastic containers was better than the ones on the restaurant menu.
On Friday evening Storico Fresco, the back-to-the-future pasta shop in Buckhead, held its first popup event. Owner Michael Patrick conceived of the new dinner series as a more immediate and intimate way to introduce pasta fans to regional, often obscure Italian dishes—his abiding obsession. He partnered with chef David Kanter, an alum of New York’s Le Bernardin who was classmates with Eli Kirshtein at the Culinary Institute of America, to execute the meal while Patrick discussed the origin of the dishes with guests.
Think of Michael Patrick as a pasta scholar. A fascination with homemade noodles began during his South Florida childhood and grew into an obsession for obscure pastas made by vanishing Old World methods. A certified sommelier who worked in restaurants as well as wine education and journalism for two decades, Patrick spent six years traveling intermittently through villages all over Italy, learning from home cooks and culinary professionals, before starting his own small-scale production in a shared kitchen near Your DeKalb Farmers Market. The fanciful shapes, many with unique fillings, that he sells through his company, Storico Fresco, reveal more skillful attention than any other fresh pastas sold in Atlanta. He makes his products with little more than a rolling pin, small dowels, and a wooden comb called a pettine that creates ridges on, as one example, lumachelle—a tubular pasta infused with cinnamon and lemon zest that he traces to a recipe from Benedictine nuns in the province of Le Marche, east of Tuscany.