by Angela Perez
I am always thrilled to try a new Italian restaurant. And, I will admit, I am a traditionalist when it comes to Italian food. My idea of a glorious Italian feast is grounded in the tried-and-true Italian-American classics that we all know and love like pizza, antipasto, pasta with red sauce, tiramisu, and cannoli. And so, this week, when I learned of the upcoming opening of Indigo Road Hospitality Group’s elevated family-style Italian restaurant, Colletta, I was feelin’ it.
This Colletta will be the second one in the group’s portfolio, located in Cary’s new upscale shopping district, Fenton. [Many of you, myself included, often lament the tearing down of old-school Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill to make way for shiny, glossy places. But, I have decided to embrace the change thanks to all of the great new restaurants that are coming in the wake of Wake County’s boom. Where money goes, good restaurants will follow.] In fact, Colletta is one of the first restaurants to open in Fenton. The original Colletta is in Atlanta, Georgia and has proved its staying power. Some of you are already familiar with the two other Indigo Road restaurants here in downtown Raleigh, O-ku (I like their menu and love the space) and Oak Steakhouse (which I have yet to try but it’s on my list). The Fenton Colletta will be helmed by Chef Oscar Gnapi, known in N.C. from his time at Cary’s much-loved but now defunct ãn (the location is now kō•än, one of my favorite restaurants in the Triangle). I wrote about the pastry chef at ãn, Francisco Almaguer, a few years ago for the Indy Week. I can still recall the way his rhubarb cake made me feel:
The slices of cake arrive hot, so that the fork slips easily through the crisp exterior and into the fluffy insides, emitting a rich, buttery aroma. The cake delights your senses even before your first bite. Beurre noisette sorbet provides the icy white foil. Almaguer lets the frozen dessert sit overnight, allowing the butterfat to rise to the top. He removes the top, leaving the sorbet with the essence of brown butter but without the richness or heaviness. The snowy confection braces the pastry’s intense sweetness.
Delicate bursts of gingered tapioca pearls, dyed pink with a tart rhubarb syrup, dot the dish’s landscape, while ribbons of poached rhubarb and savory fennel pickled in plum wine and vanilla bean drape creamy braids of fromage blanc. A puree of pickled Japanese plums and dried apricots provides a slightly salty balance. Thin slivers of flax seed and sesame toast perch above it all, providing a cap of crunch to the underlying riot of flavors.
Oh, my goodness, sorry, I got off track. I really did get into that cake, didn’t I? I love everything about restaurants and go off on pickled Japanese plum tangents all the time. Back to Gnapi’s beautiful menu for Colletta.
His signature dishes include:
Meatballs with C.A.B. pork & veal, San Marzano tomatoes, polenta, and parmesan
Wood-fired Calabrese pizza with salami, Calabrian chili oil, mozzarella, and honey [I am going to be ALL OVER this pizza]
Black pepper tagliatelle with pork tesa, carbonara, egg yolk, and fresh herbs
Joyce Farm’s chicken parmesan with capellini and sugo rosa
Family-style dishes (a lovely way to dine – so warm and cozy) include:
Veal chop “Pizzaiola” with house tomato, mozzarella, basil, and parmesan
Ribeye “Florentine” with crispy potatoes, broccolini, parmesan, and herb butter
Lasagna Bolognese with besciamela, beef Bolognese, whipped ricotta, and basil
Whole branzino panzanella with arugula, tomato, red onion, cucumber, croutons, and red wine vinaigrette
I, for one, am really looking forward to trying their house-made Italian Orange Cream Soda. Oh, yes. And I’ll be trying out the menu next week and promise to give you a full report. Opening night for the public is September 2nd at 5 p.m. Guests may choose from 60 indoor dining seats, 60 seats outdoors on the semi-covered patio, or a spot at the 12-seat bar. Upon opening, Colletta will serve dinner only; lunch and brunch will be announced in the coming weeks.
And, naturally, I will let you know if there is lots of easy, convenient parking. Though, I’ll be Ubering to this event because I want to try the signature cocktails and sample the wine list.
1 Fenton Main Street, Suite 170,
Cary, North Carolina 27511
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 5 – 10 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 5 – 11 p.m.
Thank you to JNK Public Relations for all of the details.