Dante Boccuzzi opened D.B.A. on July 4th, 2011 and is surging into its fourth year of existence well. The restaurant works with local companies to provide the freshest cuisine; the vegetables utilized by D.B.A. have been sourced from Hattie’s Garden. We stopped by to experience the five-course tasting menu of D.B.A. and spent a little over three hours looking out at a scenic view of Akron’s downtown and the valley. The restaurant is sleek, rock-themed with bold color choices (a black backdrop with pink and other vibrant highlights. Road cases comprise the server stations and act as receptacles, lending further credence to the rock star theme. The location of D.B.A. s great to allow for a party to get a filling dinner and set out on their night; it is a short drive to The Nightlight, Hoppin’ Frog or Aura.
The tasting menu began with a panzanella salad (a half-serving is $6 with the full salad clocking in at $10), which has a masterfully fried bit of mozzarella cheese alongside greens that are crisp, provide some earthy undertones to the tomato brightness and acidity. A roasted tomato vinaigrette ties together the different sides of the salad. Our second course was the Crisp Pork Belly ($12); the tomatoes do well to keep things crisp while the cedar on which the pork belly is plated gives the dish a nice smokiness. The portion of polenta (on which the belly is seated) is considerable with good servings of meat; the smoked cheddar mixed with the polenta adds considerable creaminess, melding perfectly with the sharp and peppery red wine with which it is paired. Snap peas, corn and tomato provide further variety and a firm bite to each bite.
The green spaghetti ($7 for the pictured taste, $20 for a full portion) includes garlic braised shrimp, a good helping of spinach and D.B.A.’s take on poor man’s cheese (breadcrumbs soaked in butter). Pastas are a major focus of D.B.A.; the restaurant also offers a smoked chicken risotto, pappardelle, linguini alla carbonara and ricotta cavatelli.
2013 Red Zephyr ($18), Boccuzzi’s own wine possesses a tart nose and equal amounts of earthy and spicy elements. The seared scallops ($28) utilize big, succulent scallops that are buttery while maintaining their snap. A side of arugula and beach mushrooms is tossed with a balsamic vinegar that is vinegary, earthy, and sour. Raspberry elements can be discerned in the balsamic alongside a dark cherry presence. Dehydrated strawberries pop in one’s mouth, providing a sweeter counterpoint to the lemon side of the dish. The liberal amount of balsamic added considerably to the depth of this entree. A potato croquette was well seasoned with a hard to discern spice inclusion (possibly a five spice or garam masala). The candied lemon on top of the dish adds just a hint of sweetness, tying together the variety of flavors experienced in this entree.
A Calista pinot noir is served with the final entrée. The wine is from California, tying together jammy, fruity and sweet elements. The dryness and phenolic burn of the wine cut through the rich notes of the final entrée, a coriander crusted duck breast ($28), a highlight of the night. The duck’s fat content was turned into a crispness that sealed in all of the flavor. Microgreens added a freshness and depth to the dish, while the shiitake mushroom puree and basmati rice inserted a good amount of seasoning. The pickled plums were savory with a hint of sweetness, complementing the duck.
After the five plates were served, the experience at D.B.A. was completed with a dessert. A plate included a chocolate shell with white chocolate mousse and a quenelle of mocha ice cream, tied together with a small amount of cocoa that is dusted over the plate. The dessert is coupled with a rich, thick red wine that acted as a perfect fruit-forward counterpoint to the chocolate.
D.B.A. provides tremendous ambiance and an inviting staff that will make a night at the restaurant one that is unforgettable. Keep an eye on the D.B.A. expansions that are slated to occur through the end of 2015 and into 2016.
D.B.A. (330.375.5050; 21 Furnace St, Akron, OH 44308) is open on 4:30-11:00 Monday to Thursday and 4:30-12:00 on Fridays and Saturday.