As the name suggests, the Italian restaurant focuses on pasta and pizza, along with beef and pork butchered in-house by chef Alex Dayton.
At 28, Dayton is running his first kitchen solo, after honing his pasta technique at San Francisco’s Flour and Water and designing the pastas as part of the opening team of Tenant (in Minneapolis), learning pizza from the Red Wagon Pizza Co. team, and studying butchery with an apprenticeship at the Seward Community Co-Op.
But his first love is noodles. “I’m a pasta guy,” said Dayton, a San Francisco native, who is unrelated to the Daytons of Minnesota.
“Pasta is a blank canvas — flour, water and eggs — and you can do anything you want with it,” Dayton said. “I see it as an ability to create.”
At the Dough Room, he is getting experimental with it. He turns dough green from kale and shapes it into agnolotti that holds a stuffing of traditional Bolognese sauce. As cannelloni, he wraps it around a rich duck confit and smothers it in an earthy huitlacoche beurre blanc, topped with corn (shown above).
His pizzas are a combination of the Neapolitan style he made at Flour & Water and those he made at Red Wagon. “Mine is a beast of my own,” he said. His crust begins with a sourdough starter, creating a tangy base for toppings like fennel sausage and Calabrian chili.
The meat menu will rotate depending on what Dayton is butchering. He’ll get a side of beef and a couple hogs at the start of the week and work his way through it in an effort toward a “no-waste” operation.
Hot and cold small plates, an Italian-heavy wine list, and a custard-only dessert menu round out the offerings.
It’s all part of a vision Dayton’s had for years, on a much larger scale than he imagined.
“I wanted to have the ability to feed a lot of people,” he said. At tiny Tenant, “28 people wasn’t enough for me.”