My review for Floridian View Magazine Aug. 2012
Growing up in this area I’ve known of the home my entire life, built in 1907 it was the home of our nations 29th president Warren G. Harding. Today it is the location of one of the most beautiful and delicious restaurants in the Daytona area, The Cellar. Owned by Sam and Lina Moggio it is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
With a desire for something different and to seek out an eating experience in a more tranquil setting, we chose the Cellar. Would it meet our expectations?
Currently, the upstairs dining area is being remodeled so we were led to a lovely, cozy dining area downstairs. Our waiter, Gene, courteously advised us of the specials and wine choices but ultimately suggested what we considered the best choice to sample everything The Cellar had to offer: the tasting menu.
The tasting menu is a five-course selection of pure, fresh, amazing food. You can order the menu with or without wine pairings. We elected to choose our own and selected a Chianti and a “Merchant of Venice” which is a beautiful, crisp Prosecco with pomegranate syrup instead. They were delish!
We made different selections from the Tasting Menu so that we could share a bit of everything. Starting with an Amuse’ of Tuna tartar, the tasting took us on a journey of culinary expertise and care that tickled our taste buds at every turn. The highlights of the evening for me were the Air-Dried Beef with arugula, peach vinaigrette and apple salad garnish, as well as the fettuccine, smoked duck & seasonal mushroom ragu. The only misstep in our entire meal was that the potatoes in my main dish, which was a Paillard of snapper with fine chopped vegetables, potato galette and walnut oil, were a bit overdone for my liking.
One area of the Tasting Menu generated consensus with my dining partner and myself: Dessert! We both insisted on ordering the Dark Chocolate Torte with creme anglaise and chocolate sauce. Served warm, the torte was delicate and rich every bite making us want another, it did not disappoint.
It’s clear from the flavors and presentation that Sam and Lina have a love for fine, fresh foods, and the flavors of Italy. It shows in every dish, as well as the way Lina floats throughout the dining room greeting each guest with her beautiful smile and charming accent. I recommend you give this quaint old home a taste, you won’t be disappointed!
A Taste of Webster: Amuse-bouche; a single, bite-sized hors d’œuvre. Amuse-bouches are different from appetizers in that they are not ordered from a menu by patrons, but, when served, are done so for free and according to the chef’s selection alone