Captured by Colletta

written by Carl Danbury, Jr. | photography courtesy of Colletta
Steve Palmer’s The Indigo Road has created a staunch following in Charleston with its storied restaurants, OakSteakhouse, The Oak Table, O-Ku Sushi, Indaco, and my personal favorite, The Macintosh, where Executive Chef and three-time James Beard semi-finalist Jeremiah Bacon’s creations had me salivating during my visit a few years back. Palmer, whose previous Atlanta experiences included Houston’s and Canoe, has made a triumphant return — but this time Alpharetta is the beneficiary – with Oak Steakhouse and Colletta, neatly positioned at 950 and 900 Third Street in Avalon.

Although I am more accustomed to smaller, tighter and perhaps less grandiose Italian eateries, Colletta’s aesthetics certainly fit its new environs and its targeted clientele. Designed by David Thompson Architects, Colletta’s space is accentuated by its wood burning oven, a chef’s counter, a magnificent bar and a large patio. Colletta features enthusiastic Italian fare, created by Executive Chef Michael Perez, a significant cocktail list and an all-Italian wine list created by Zach Stewart, who also oversees the list at Oak. Our first luncheon, which was shared among our small group, included a Bianca Pizza with ricotta, San Simon di Costa smoked cheese, braised mushrooms, rosemary oil and pecorino romano. We also sampled Colletta’s melt-inyour- mouth meatballs, its clams accented with oregano, Calabrian chiles, garlic, white wine, smoked prosciutto and parsley served with a toasted Semolina baguette, followed by the very tempting octopus, served with sausage, white beans, parsley and Meyer lemon aioli. There would be no hesitation at all to order them during our next visit.

From there, our group became a bit more selfish with their sharing. Bitter greens with fried parsley, croutons and a sensational buttermilk and anchovy vinaigrette was my choice, and I maintain this salad should be considered Caesar’s superior. Another chose pappardelle with pork sugo, herbed ricotta clouds, orange zest and pecorino romano, and I’m fairly certain we heard somewhat muted slurping. The ravioli, made with four cheeses, was enhanced by Roman tomato sauce and prosciutto. Marvelous! And for dessert we couldn’t decide between the Bombolini with cappuccino crema and the pear and almond crostata with Marscapone gelato and brown butter sauce, so we double dipped. Wise choice!