Bella Piatti has been open for a few months, but we were lucky enough to be present from basically the inception back in May. Even before that, Chef Dan Campbell left his previous job and decided to head north to Birmingham to work at Tallulah for Mindy Vanhellermont. At the time of Campbell’s move Bella Piatti was a mere notion, but as the photo gallery shows we went from nothing to opening night in just over four months. Pretty impressive.
Already considered one of the best new restaurants of 2011 by the Detroit Free Press (link), we predict that Bella Piatti will be a contender for restaurant of the year in 2012. The combination of well-made, rustic Tuscan inspired cuisine and the hip, communal atmosphere is unique to both Birmingham and all of metro Detroit.
I wrote an article about Chef Daniel a couple months back for Real Detroit Weekly (full article). Here is the piece on Campbell in its entirety:
When Daniel Campbell left Detroit at the age of eighteen, he had no idea what he wanted to do. He ended up working in a number of restaurants in Seattle, climbing the ladder from dishwasher all the way to the top. “Seattle had great food and a great restaurant scene with lots of fresh seafood,” Campbell says, “I want to bring a lot of nice fresh fish and sea creatures and such to Birmingham.”
Campbell’s passion for seafood has its roots in Seattle. The passion further rooted itself in Michigan when he came back to work for Takashi Yagihashi at the now defunct Tribute. After Tribute, Campbell became the Chef de Cuisine at Michael Mina’s Saltwater at the MGM casino. Dan’s work at Saltwater, like chefs at at most casinos, may have been under appreciated.
Don’t get me wrong, Campbell never once made mention of being under appreciated, however, the lure of Tallulah and the prospect of opening Bella Piatti was enough to bring his culinary prowess to Birmingham. His impact is immediately noticeable, too.
Open since October 6, Bella Piatti is unique in layout and its menu. Campbell explains Bella Piatti’s cuisine, northern Italian cooking is, “The closest to my philosophy of food – you take a dish, make it with eight ingredients and then take four away and see if you have a similar dish.” The ingredients tell the story. “You make something with three or four ingredients, everything must be pristine,” says Campbell.
At a recent menu tasting, Campbell presented a wood fire grilled Monterey Bay sardine topped with a simple mix of pine nuts, roasted peppers, golden raisins and high quality olive oil. Not only was this dish a joy to eat, it was great fun picking and plucking at the large sardine for each delectable bite.