The number one term searched by those who visit this blog is "Alex Atala", and I'm sure that's no coincidence. He is, in fact, the country's top food ambassador and in the past couple of years acquired the status of celeb-chef, showing up in mobile phone ads, multiple magazine covers and on the 50 Best Restaurants list.
So I feel I should give an update on his much talked-about second restaurant, Dalva e Dito. A while after a scathing review in Veja São Paulo, Alain Poletto, the French chef who'd been put in charge of the place, was pulled out (he says he left to pursue a new challenge, but don't they all say that?).
In Poletto's place, Atala very intelligently put... himself! :)
He understood that the public had turned against something they saw as a pricey exercise in branding, rather than a project that Atala actually had his heart in.
So now Atala's steering the ship, and he's thought up a new menu filled with real homey classics that every São Paulo native knows from family meals. Genius: the Brazilians go for comfort food, the gringos go to discover what real home-made Brazilian food tastes like. Hopefully, the execution in on par with what is expected of him.
I've decided to reproduce here the menu in its entirety, since I've gotten a few requests from readers. Voilà:
Dalva e Dito
Dalva e Dito salad: greens, tomato, fresh heart of palm, onion
Sides: white rice, brown beans, black beans, crisp potatoes, wilted kale, farofa
Enjoy a choice of:
Cuscuz paulista (traditional cornmeal terrine with tomatoes, peas and eggs)
With shrimp and salad
Salad of cavaquinha (Brazilian langoustine)
Slow-poached sous vide and served with heirloom cucumber, tomato, citrus and a bisque vinaigrette
Salad of fradinho beans and pulled beef tendon
The meat is slow-cooked until tender, served shredded and tossed with onion, green pepper, brown beans, parsley and green peas.
Fresh heart of palm salad
Cooked and raw wedges of rustic heart of palm, diced pienaple, marinated shrimp, herbs, cream and cinnamon.
An homage to the classic seafood stew served at the beach restaurant Dalmo Bárbaro
Oysters from Santa Catarina state
Garnished with lime and salt
With black beans and julienne of wilted kale
From land and air...
Red rice from Northeastern Brazil with skewer of coalho cheese and grilled vegetables
A rice dish typical of the arid countryside paired with the charred cheese that is the quintessential Northeastern beach snack
Pig in a can with potato mash and pequi
Confit of pork ribs slow-cooked in a can combined with the exotic flavour of the pequi, a fruit that grows in the plains of Central Brazil
Oxtail with and canjiquinha
A classic of Minas Gerais state, a hearty mix of slow-cooked oxtail, crunchy watercress and white corn porridge
Roast chicken with homestyle risotto
Roasted and soft chicken made by our Rotissol. Only it knows how to do that
Quail stuffed with dried bananas and cashews
A very Brazilian stuffing enhances the flavourful bird. On the side, a lighter and tropical take on the risotto: less creamy and made with the common agulhinha rice instead of arborio.
Skewer of picanha beef, Gaucho style, with farofa
The classic from Rio Grande do Sul state: 300 grams of prime steak grilled on the spit, served with the traditional farofa (toasted manioc flour)
Beef tenderloin with sautéed onions, topped with a fried egg, and white rice
A São Paulo classic, served at most family tables
Steak milanese with potato salad
Another classic: generous portion of crisp, breaded deep-fried meat and a cool salad as contrast
Rack of lamb with crispy potatoes
Lamb prepared gaucho style on the spit and served pink, with chimi curri sauce and potatoes.
Rack of goat with broccoli tossed in olive oil, and baked onion (for two)
From the water…
Pirarucu a la plancha with Brazil nut vinaigrette and ratatouille of vegetables from the Northeast
The largest fish species from our rivers, farmed sustainably, paired with diced and roasted manioc, maxixe, jiló, okra, sweet potato and jerimum squash
Surubim with jambu and lemongrass, white rice and manioc flour
Also farmed sustainably, guaranteeing even quality and flavor, the fish is served with jambu, a herb from the North which is unique in that it makes the tongue tingle
Salt-crusted catch of the day with crispy potatoes
Whatever is best at the market. Please allow a 35 minute preparation time.
Bahian moqueca with white rice and fish porridge
Badejo steaks in a traditional palm oil and coconut milk stew (for one, 45 reais)
(fresh chopped cilantro is optional)
Capixaba moqueca with white rice and fish porridge
Light, delicate and tasty. The moqueca typical of Espírito Santo state
Shrimp in the pumpkin
A Brazilian classic: shrimp in a thick and creamy Catupiry cheese sauce served in a pumpkin, with white rice on the side
Shrimp a la plancha with mandioquinha mousseline
Extra-large shrimp served sizzling and topped with chopped parsley and lime, with a silky purée of Brazil’s tastiest root vegetable
Dona Dalva cod
Top-notch Dias salted cod served in a casserole with stewed tomatoes, potatoes and onions and the best Portuguese olive oil
Octopus with manioc mash
Grilled tentacles served with chunky concassé of roasted manioc
In homage to the cookery of Brazilian grandmas, aunts and mothers...
Not at all like the Italian version: baked casserole of rice, peas, tomatoes and carrots, au gratin
Manteiguinha beans from Pará state
The name of these beans translates to “little butter” – and for good reason...
Roasted Pupunha heart of palm
A great ingredient, baked whole, in the palm trunk
Mousseline of mandioquinha
A silky purée of Brazil’s tastiest root vegetable
Ratatouille of the Sertão
Diced and roasted exotic vegetables from the Northeast region - manioc, maxixe, jiló, okra, sweet potato and jerimum squash – finished with a drizzle of manteiga de garrafa, Brazil’s version of the Indian ghee butter
Fried whole, rustic and delicious
Diced potatoes tossed with eggs, chopped onion and mayo
Toasted manioc flour
Broccoli tossed in olive oil and baked onion
Potato mash with pequi fruit
Classic mashed potatoes laced with the exotic scent of Brazil’s heartland
Chunky concassé of roasted manioc
To sweeten life...
Selection of farmstead compotes
With fresh cheese
(As traditional as it gets)
Romeo and Juliet
The pairing of guava paste and Catupiry cheese got this name because it is a match made in heaven. To our version we add guava cream and guava sorbet.
Açaí with banana, guarana, spices, tapioca ice cream and granola
A dressed-up preparation of the Amazonian fruit, served unsweetened as is the custom in its place of origin.
Papaya cream with a drizzle of catuaba
Papaya whipped with vanilla ice cream and topped with drops of catuaba liqueur
Brazilian fruit sorbets
Exotic even to Brazilians, although they shouldn’t be...
Cashew fruit, graviola, and papaya with pitanga
Fruits of the moment
Chocolate and priprioca custard
Single-origin cocoa in a silky cream laced with the essence of an exotic root from Pará state
Brazilian-style and in a generous serving, to overcome my childhood yearning
Ambrosia with passion fruit jam
A classic dessert made with milk, eggs and sugar. Souvenirs of my father
Served with cinnamon ice cream
Mango mousse, coconut ice cream, ginger syrup
The only sugar in this light dessert is the fruit’s own
Raviolis with banana and passion fruit stuffing, tangerine sorbet
Baba à la cachaça, golden egg custard
Dalva e Dito
Rua Padre João Manuel, 1115, Jardins, 3062-6282
And more Alex Atala on this blog:
And also, two videos I made at D.O.M.: