, the latest restaurant from Michele D'oto, will open at Carriage Crossing in Collierville Wednesday, July 17th.
D'oto says he happened by the spot by accident. But it clicked. "The atmosphere was pretty nice, and it was something I felt good about," he says.
D'oto is Italian. He married an American and moved to the United States. He came to Memphis after Hurricane Katrina and opened the much-loved Pasta Italia in the mid-2000s (now closed). He is a master pasta maker with a devoted following.
He also owned the Pasta Maker, which closed late last year.
D'oto says with Cafe Europe, he plans to cook the dishes he liked to make when he lived in Europe. "You'll see the dishes that I enjoy and cooked through my years in Europe and a little bit of everywhere — Italy, of course, France, Spain. I decided to do a fusion of those.
The menu features D'oto's famous Rosette al Forno, gnocchi, paella, beef carpaccio, and fish ceviche. He plans to have a cheese cart with different cheeses, where guests can make a cheese plate. He'll have an in-house pastry chef and a dessert cart as well.
He's planning to buy his seafood fresh and has worked out a deal to secure seafood from Hawaii overnight by FedEx. He'll use local sources too.
Cafe Europe will offer fois gras and crab claws, an avocado shrimp cocktail and a poblano pepper stuffed with pork, beef, and lamb ragu.
Justin Fox Burks
The space has a cafe feel. It's bright yellow with red accents. It seats about 70, with more seating on the patio. D'oto says he was going for a comfortable setting for his upscale dishes.
Prices for the appetizers start at about $15, with prices going as high as $123 for the Fiorentina, a 42-ounce T-bone steak that can feed as many as three.
D'oto says he's ready to start cooking. Inspections have been passed, licenses obtained.
"I feel strong," he says. "It is important that we do it and do it for me. I do it for the community as well.