On the way to Savannah last time we decided to call our friend Roberto Leoci to see if we could get reservations to his restaurant that night. Leoci’s Trattoria is a small fine dining Italian restaurant that is only about a block and a half away from The Dresser Palmer House. In fact the way we knew Roberto is because a couple of years ago right after the Inn was remodeled Roberto used to do “Wednesday Night Wine Dinners” at the Inn. It was a way to let the guests and other Savannah residents get a treat weekly and also a way for Roberto to get his name out there since he was going to be opening his own restaurant.
Roberto is an excellent chef and very humble person. This is what his web-site says about him:
“Though his career has taken him all over the globe and intosome of the world’s best restaurants, Chef Roberto Leoci has never lost sight the goal that long-ago inspired his culinary career: to introduce an innovative world cuisine experience for diners to enjoy. “As opposed to the deteriorating authenticity of so much food served in America, I believe that dishes should maintain the quality and excellent taste developed generations and centuries ago,” explains Chef Leoci. “Fresh ingredients are mingled with a savory simplicity in my recipes. And while there is a fine line between making a dish look modern and keeping with the true taste and parent region, I strive to achieve that balance in recipes I prepare.”
Chef Leoci’s passion for food developed at an early age while spending summers in Sicily with his family. What began as a profound love for food soon guided him towards a culinary calling. His journey began as he worked and studied in Florence, Italy. After mastering he talents, he made a trip across the Atlantic to further his culinary career at the Ritz-Carlton on Key Biscayne, Florida.
Eager to take on new endeavors, Chef Leoci soon began to offer his services as a Private Chef, beginning with the Garfunkel Family on Fisher Island outside of Miami. As he quickly learned how to use the best seasonal ingredients while preparing healthy meals and traveling globally, this
international family pushed the chef’s skills onto to a higher level. Following the Garfunkels, Chef Leoci worked for several high profile clients. From upscale New Year’s bashes to private dinners with the likes of author Tom Wolfe, these clients provided the chef with the opportunity to meet and cook for many celebrities.
Next, Chef Leoci received a request to help out a friend in opening a new restaurant from start to finish. He took on the challenge and uprooted to Savannah, Georgia, where, one year later Bull Street Chophouse, a beautiful restaurant with a functioning kitchen and delightful menu, opened.
The experience allowed the chef to perfect his managing skills and he soon realized that he possessed a great passion for the restaurant industry. Once his contract expired at Bull Street Chophouse, he was already well on his way to making a dream come true and opening his own restaurant.
“Leoci’s is exactly what I would like every restaurant to be,” explains the chef. “Fresh ingredients, tasty food, good atmosphere and solid consistency.”
Today, Chef Roberto Leoci may be found at Leoci’s Trattoria or at The Dresser Palmer House, where is continued passion for fine dining has
led him to become the Executive Chef”
When I called he actually answered the phone and let me know they could fit us in but then told me they were having one of their “wine dinners” the next night if we preferred to come then. We jumped at the chance. I am going to attempt to insert some of the pictures from the dinner in between the descriptions of the courses. Of course the pictures don’t do justice to how exquisite the meal actually was! This is what his web-site said about the wine dinner:
Leoci’s Islands of Italy Banfi Wine Dinner
Cuisine Al Fresco
May 25, 2011, 7:30pm
at Leoci’s Trattoria
Chef Roberto Leoci & Guest Chef Simone Concas Collaborate
seating limited, call for reservations 912-335-7027
A family-owned vineyard estate and winery in the Brunello region of Tuscany
which has become recognized the world over for its dedication to excellence and
sparking a renaissance in the art of Italian winemaking. Chef/Owner Roberto Leoci &
Guest Chef Simone Concas collaborate to craft a 5-Course
Dinner and Pairing those dishes with Wines from BANFI.
Please join us for an amazing evening of food and wine. Seating is limited —
don’t wait to make your reservation!
Wednesday May 25, 2011
$95 per person
including wine, tax and gratuity not included
Reception: Passed hors d’oeuvres,
Mixer of small bites introducing Leoci’s Summer Menu Items
Wine Pairing: Banfi
“Centine” Bianco (Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay/Pinot Grigio)
Salad / Appetizer Course
Thinly sliced and marinated tuna sashimi, salmon and grouper finished with
mustard anchovies olive oil emulsion neatly arranged with a composed salad of
micro greens, purple basil and radicchio
Wine Pairing: Castello
Banfi San Angelo Pinot Grigio
Campidanese: Hand made typical Sardinian Gnocchi tossed with a
sauce composed of sautéed onions, Italian sausage, deglazed with red wine
blended with a marinara sauce and topped with shaved parmesan-reggiano
Wine Pairing: Castello
Banfi Rosso di Montalcino
Main Course / Piatto Forte
The King Veal Crown:
A slowly roasted tender milk fed veal rack on top of a sun dried tomato and
buffalo mozzarella potato cake on a pool of truffle demi-glace served with
vegetable du jour
Wine Pairing: Castello
Banfi “BelnerO” Anniversary Super Tuscan
Dessert Course / Dolce
Frutti di Bosco alla
Baker: Mini crostatta topped with a Marsala-mascarpone cream,
fresh mint and berries with chocolate and fruit coulis extravaganza
Wine Pairing: Banfi
Options available upon request for dietary, lifestyle or eating habits
The Banfi representative, Arthur Macon did a wonderful job of presenting each wine and telling us all about the winery and captivating us with little anecdotes. The guest chef Simone and Roberto did an outstanding job explaining each course and we all did a wonderful job chowing down!
Let me just say that the dinner was FABULOUS! The food was awesome, the atmosphere and service was outstanding and the wine wasn’t too bad either! LOL Ummmm…. Let’s just say it was a good thing that the Inn was only about a block walk after the dinner and the wine! If you are ever in Savannah and want a wonderful dinner, please head to Leoci’s. Summer should be fine getting in since they do have a large deck for dining out back but if you want to eat inside or if it’s winter time you want to make sure you call ahead for a reservation as the dining room only seats about 30 or 35 people. They are located at 606 Abercorn, Savannah, GA and their phone number is (912) 335-7027. You can ask for Roberto or his lovely wife Lacey. See, even her name sounds lovely… Lacey Leoci…. How much cuter could that be? Seriously, try them, you won’t be sorry.