When it opened last spring, Bella was poised to be the bell of the Uptown ball. Created by Nick & Sam’s alums Tony Porcaro and Robert “Peach” Petrie, the hot spot was packed with the see-and-be-seen crowd. The chef, Christopher Short, was finally getting his solo in the spotlight. Previously, Short worked behind the scenes as executive chef for the Crescent Court, and he ran the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek’s private dining program. Short wooed customers and restaurant reviewers. Sadly, he was gone by the time I arrived.
The menu is casual and covers the globe. There are pizzas, burgers, a few Italian dishes, and steaks. What I don’t like about this type of menu is that it makes it difficult to put together a two- or three-course dinner in which the tastes fit together. We started with a Greek salad of feta, cucumbers, kalamata olives, and artichokes tossed in vinegar dressing so pungent it made me choke. The acidic aftertaste didn’t fair well with the pappardelle Bolognese that followed. The wide ribbon pasta wasn’t cooked enough and stuck to my teeth. Boneless pork chops were fair. Two strips of pork sat atop a mound of light whipped potatoes surrounded by chipotle barbecue sauce. One was dry, the other moist. Dessert was the best part of the meal. Two scoops of gelato (pistachio and chocolate) disappeared before they could melt. Made in house? No, from Dallas-based Paciugo.
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