Dalva e Dito
Chef Atala’s new casual restaurant. The adobe-hued Dalva is all about sharp updating of grandmotherly regional dishes. Moqueca, a seafood stew from the Afro-Brazilian state of Bahia, normally heavy with its thick film of dende (palm oil), tastes clean, vibrant, and coconutty here. To follow: pirarucu, a white-fleshed Amazonian fish that can reach 450 pounds. Atala uses the loin of a smaller, more delicate specimen, saucing it with a Brazil-nut vinaigrette. “A typical caipira [country folk] meal,” Camargo pronounces as the main course arrives. It’s porco na lata, pork cooked in a tin can into a tender confit. For dessert: silky pastel-hued sorbets in tropical flavors such as caju (cashew fruit), guava, and graviola (soursop).
AS FEATURED IN...
From the From the May 2008 Food & Wine Go List
Dali’s owners, a group of young Chinese art-world types, have stuffed an old courtyard home with contemporary Chinese art and put tables in the quirky little rooms and the lovely central garden. There’s no menu here; guests choose a price level and servers bring out plates of modern pan-Asian dishes, like mushrooms roasted in banana leaves and sweet-and-sour dried beef infused with lemon juice. The chefs age the beef by hanging strips of it on trees in the courtyard.
We loved: Eggs scrambled with jasmine tea.
Insider tip: The more people in your group, the greater variety of dishes you’ll get to try.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.