Food & Drink

It's actually not the spiral

In business, protecting your good name is everything -- which is why the scandalously grimy Mockingbird Hilton was famously forced to change its handle first to the "Hiltop", then, once things really went down-Hil, to "Closed". Doing his best to keep his biz-name good, the guy behind Farnatchi Gourmet Oven, soft-open now

FGO originated in Addison, but after an investor took improper liberties with the menu and atmosphere, the owner (who also owns Victory Park's Medina) demanded the name be removed, so that he could in turn slap it on an Uptown do-over: a pan-Mediterranean nook simply outfitted with a dark wood communal table, bench seating made comfy via cylindrical lumbar pillows, and huge iron lanterns hanging from a floating tin-tiled ceiling island, upholstered in the same woven Tuscan fabric as the pillows, and therefore truly back-lit. Cross-cultural dishes start with apps like fried calamari w/ saffron and Turkish sumac, and a feta/pistachio'd spinaci salad with apricots poached in Moroccan cinnamon; then move to mains like chicken lemon scaloppine w/ capers & potatoes in saffron ginger sauce, spaghetti w/ sumac'd meatballs, lasagna in cinnamon/cumin tomato sauce, and a holiday-friendly cardamom/clove/nutmeg-bechamel'd ravioli (as with presents, you never really know what's inside 'til the morning arrives). Meanwhile, pizzas range from the Farnatchi (sausage, parm/mozz, peppers, onions, olives) to the seasonal, cheese-less Tangrineo w/ mixed seafood marinated in spices; there's also a 17-ingredient build-your-own option, but who are you kidding, sausage

Nothing on Farnatchi's menu tops $14, and the resto's keeping itself purposefully BYOB -- an overly tempting arrangement against which your good name will be utterly defenseless.