Keep New Times Free

Chef Pete DeRuvo to Head Kitchen at New Davanti Enoteca

Pete DeRuvo -- the peripatetic chef who made a name for himself at Sassi, then moved to Prado and later left Cuoco Pazzo in a huff -- has landed a new executive chef position he's pretty psyched about.

He has signed on with the Chicago-based Francesca's Restaurants Group, which will open its fourth Davanti Enoteca this August in the former Quilted Bear space at Scottsdale Road and Lincoln.

Jeff Cohen, director of operations for the group, describes the Italian restaurant as a "small-plates wine bar concept," where the atmosphere is casual and the pace relaxed (enoteca means "wine shop" or "wine bar" in Italian).

As DeRuvo puts it, "This is real Italian-style, where people want to hang out for a while. It's not 'let's hurry up and eat and get out of here.'"

The wine list will skew 80 percent Italian, 20 percent everything else, including Malbecs and other popular wines of the moment. Meanwhile, the menu -- which both DeRuvo and Cohen describe as simplicity itself -- looks terrific.

There's not a single dish that reads like the usual Italian-American or Northern Italian we're served ad nauseam here in Phoenix. Here are a few examples:

Grilled asparagus + black pepper mascarpone + pickled rhubarb

Linguine + sea urchin + crab

Seared octopus + warm fingerling potato salad + marcona almonds + finnochiona + fresh horseradish aioli

For more mouthwatering descriptions, check out davantichicago.com or davantisandiego.com.

DeRuvo is currently undergoing total immersion in Francesca's corporate culture at the Del Mar location, which must be brutal for the poor fellow, what with the sand and surf and all.

Once the restaurant's up and running, he'll be making house-made salami and using the special porchetta roaster on whole pigs. And because Davanti is an enoteca, we can also expect an appealing selection of cheeses, including Grana Padano, Pecorino Sardo and Robiola Rochetta.

The Focaccia di Recco (crisp, cracker-like baked focaccia, layered with super-soft cow's milk cheese, sprinkled with sea salt and topped with honeycomb) is purportedly outrageous. Can't wait to find out.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Stay tuned to Chow Bella for an exact opening date.

Follow Chow Bella on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.