Words by Melissa Groth, Photos by Franz Mahr
I have never liked scallops, which, for some reason, always surprises people. Like, to the point of being offended. Mussels, oysters, clams, no problem. But scallops? Nope. I have, however, given them a fair chance every time the opportunity presents itself. If everyone likes them so much, I must be missing something, right? I’ve tried them numerous times, but they remain one of the two foods that I just do not like (the other is honeydew melon. I mean, the whole thing is a rind).
So, when the gnocchi with seared sea scallops was placed in front of me at Ovvio Osteria, I started to get nervous. Gnocchi, goat cheese and spinach– all things I love. But scallops? Well, you know how I feel about scallops. Anyway, true to character, I tried it, thinking this time I’ll like them.
This time I loved them. Oh my gosh this dish was phenomenal. I took my first bite and the skies opened up, rays of heavenly sunlight shone down upon me as triumphant horns sounded far and wide. Finally! I have experienced the glory that is a properly prepared scallop. The pasta, house made gnocchi, is tossed with a goat cheese cream, with goat cheese sprinkled on top and wilted spinach. So simple, and simply amazing. Creamy and delicious and cooked perfectly, all parts come together to make a beautiful whole.
I’ll rewind now to just before my scallop awakening. Almost everything at Ovvio Osteria is house-made, right down to the ladyfingers for the tiramisu. The Mozzarella In Corrozza appetizer is a plate of amazing grilled-cheese-like finger sandwiches. The house-made mozzarella on buttery, garlicky, brioche toasts is served with roasted tomato salsa or salsa verde. Meatballs al Forno are made of veal, beef, and pork, served in a bowl with tomato basil sauce and garnished with pecorino. Feeling more like seafood? Try the baked clams with saffron, white wine and garlic.
The “insalate” is all about infant lettuce. Try the baby spinach with pancetta and gorgonzola; the baby greens with pickled green tomatoes, or baby arugula with marinated olives and sunchokes. All options are gluten free, as is a good portion of the menu. The kitchen can also prepare many of the gluten-full menu items as gluten free, if you ask.
On the Secondi menu is a grilled wild salmon served with sauteed kale and sweet potato mascarpone puree. This simple, clean dish is absolutely full of flavor. I’m pretty sure my jaw actually dropped when I heard “mascarpone folded into sweet potatoes.” I am definitely stealing this idea for Thanksgiving dinner. Chicken piccata with capers and root veggie puree is another seemingly simple dish that just explodes with flavor.
Don’t skip dessert. The tiramisu (what can I say, I love mascarpone) is a winner. So are the bomboloni– ricotta doughnuts served with chocolate sauce.
Next time you’re craving Italian food, or just hungry, try Ovvio Osteria. The name translates loosely to “obvious kitchen.” What’s obvious about this kitchen is the care and creativity that go into each dish. They plan on adding more traditional items to the menu soon, but the thoughtful deviations from tradition make the dishes special.