Fry and executive chef Brian Horn worked together to create a menu that travels the southern European coastline, exploring delicate pasta, roasted fish and fresh crudo served in the historic seaside towns and villages.
“When we started creating dishes for St. Cecilia, we were inspired by the cooking techniques used in the area of Genoa, Italy, the Ligurian coast, the day to day fishing, home-style pasta making – nothing too fancy, just really simple,” says Fry. Horn’s culinary methods are in perfect harmony with Fry’s. “There’s nothing very complicated about my style of food, nothing too ‘frou-frou,’” says Horn. “My favorite thing to make is handmade pasta and when you do it with heart it truly shows. I personally find the process a simple enjoyment – it’s about relaxation when kneading, rolling and shaping the dough. I wear my ear buds, get my hands in and there and practically mediate!”
Examples of menu items include salt cod beignets; bucatini with Jonah crab, Serrano chili and garlicky crumbs; fluke crudo with blood orange, pink grapefruit, Castelvetrano olive and EVOO; and veal rib chop with cipollini onions, mushroom, pancetta and madeira. When describing how she came up with the dessert menu, pastry chef Chrysta Poulos explains, “I wanted to keep kept the menu straight-forward, super delicious and with a heavy Italian influence.”
Diners can finish their meal with offerings such as the panini di gelato, an ice cream sandwich with pizzelle cookies; bomboloni doughnuts filled with housemade ricotta, honey-cinnamon syrup; and zabaglione gelato with a brown butter caramel.
The spacious bar with its 20 stools and additional cocktail lounge are ready to host those looking for a post-work or pre-dinner drink. “We put an emphasis on wine, carefully picking each of the 200 bottles on our wine list,” says beverage consultant Lara Creasy. “Our cocktails are very European and aperitif, or lighter-bodied, in style.” Craft cocktails include the Evil Ways with a Spanish brandy, Licor 43, Oloroso sherry, salt and a Marcona almond-stuffed olive; Gold Dust Woman with pisco, L’Esprit de June, prosecco and flower pollen; and Let it Bleed with bourbon, Casoni 1814 Aperitivo, cherry Heering and tangerine juice. In the center of the bar, the La Marzocco Strada espresso machine is used to create another large component of the beverage menu – coffee drinks.
Like all of Fry’s restaurants, St. Cecilia is visually stunning. The Meyer Davis Studio designed the massive, light-filled 11,000-square-foot space which seats approximately 160. Tucked away on the second floor, a private room holds a flat screen television neatly hidden away and walls decorated with playful, European beach inspired photographs. Downstairs, the windows are accented with soft, patchwork curtains attached to pulleys, distressed wall mirrors that have the ability to make guests look “just right” at night and Romanesque tiled columns. These design elements create a comfortable environment where guests can relax and feel removed from the busy outside world. There are vintage touches such as timeworn Mediterranean books, kitchen tools and metal bins, prominently displayed on a sky-high shelf unit that separates street entrance from the dining room space just one staircase below. Reclaimed lightwood covers the floor and a matching rounded, wooden wall hangs over three gleaming stone chef’s tables. Collectively seating 12, the tables are positioned in front of the icy crudo bar. The shiny stainless steel of the open kitchen showcases a roaring, mini-hearth for roasting the fish of the day and provides guests a peek into the kitchen.
St. Cecilia is located at 3455 Peachtree Road adjacent to The Pinnacle Building at the corner of Peachtree and Lenox Roads. The restaurant serves dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Lunch is served Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Valet parking is available. For more information, visit stceciliaatl.com or call 404-554-9995 for reservations. You can also visit their facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/StCeciliaATL