Hippity-hop to this Atlanta restaurant and order the rabbit

Coniglio from Valenza, an Italian restaurant in Brookhaven. Photo by Ligaya Figueras

Coniglio from Valenza, an Italian restaurant in Brookhaven. Photo by Ligaya Figueras

DISH OF THE WEEK: Coniglio from Valenza

There is a delightful stretch on Dresden Drive that is full of palate-pleasers whether you’re in the mood for Mexican, Japanese or New American bistro fare.

Italian? You’ll find that, too. Start at Valenza.

Valenza is not doing anything flashy. While dishes are prettily plated, the restaurant doesn’t do “tweezer food,” says executive chef and partner Stephen Herman.

Take, for example, the coniglio, a braised rabbit entrée that Herman likens to chicken cacciatore “in a peasant kind of way.”

The coniglio has been around since the restaurant opened nearly a decade ago, and for good reason.

The thighs, tender and delicate from a slow, gentle braise, sit atop smooth, creamy polenta made even creamier with mascarpone cheese. There are sauteed cremini mushrooms, briny olives, oven-dried tomatoes and paper-thin shavings of Parmesan cheese – a different savory sensation with every bite. The whole thing gets napped with a seductive jus of the braising liquid enriched with red wine that begs to be sopped up with crusty farmhouse bread.

The coniglio maybe a plebian dish, but it is nobly cooked.

Valenza, 1441 Dresden Drive, Brookhaven, 404-969-3233, valenzarestaurant.com.

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