Blog Update May 2010
Pleasant dinner at OEVO this weekend. The pasta pictured here was billed as bucatini alla Matriciana but is more properly known as bucatini all’Amatriciana since it hails from the Lazio town of Amatrice. In any event, it features tomatoes and guanciale, cured pork jowel. I wish this version had been more porky (jowely?) but it was tasty nevertheless. Our two other pastas, fettuccine with wild mushrooms and black linguine with shellfish were also very good. These followed two good apps: fried calamari and wood-oven-roasted veal meatballs.
I am sorry to say that the price of the many daily specials were not given in writing—nor verbally, until I asked our waiter. As I reported in this column, the law requires restaurants to post the specials, in writing, either on each table, along with the regular menu, or on a “prominently displayed” blackboard or whiteboard. Violations can be reported to the Nassau County’s Office of Consumer Affairs (516-571-2600) and the penalty is up to $100 for the first violation and up to $250 for violations thereafter. (A comparable law is in effect in Suffolk County; the Suffolk County Office of Consumer Affairs can be reached at 631-853-4600. Here are links to the Nassau law and the Suffolk law.)
OEVO stands for olio extra-vergine di oliva at this handsome restaurant. And they use plenty of olive oil. The full-flavored spot, which took over and transformed the old address of Brunello, adroitly combines traditional and new as part of Long Island's latest Italian Renaissance. OEVO's owners, general manager Antimo Verde and his uncle Ciro Verdi, bring experience and style to the place; the former cooked at Le Madri and Mezzaluna in Manhattan, the latter owns Da Ciro, also in the city. Here, they run a warm, comfortable eatery that already has a lot of regulars.
Before you read the menu and listen to specials, order the split focaccia filled with robiola cheese, or the version that adds prosciutto, tomato and arugula. They're ideal openers at dinner or main dishes at lunch. The house's casserole of eggplant Parmesan takes the familiar, lightens it and makes the standby taste almost new. A duo of sauteed artichokes, dubbed Roman, rise stem upward, tender and tasty. OEVO excels with pastas, especially the bucatini all'Amatriciana, bracing and hearty; garganelli alla Bolognese, with a fine veal sauce; and savory orecchiette tossed with sausage and broccoli rabe. The most luxurious choice: a buttery, creamy, classic risotto, completed with a table-side shaving of white truffle - $80, or twice almost everything else. Mahi-mahi baked in parchment shows up moist and mild. So does grilled chicken. The Italianate Napoleon with strawberries, raspberry tart, tiramisu and flourless chocolate cake lead the sweets.
Grilled octopus turns chewy, as does the grilled, sliced shell steak sporting an evergreen of rosemary. Baked clams oreganata, ordinary; whole branzino, overdone. The chocolate-hazelnut torta is on the dry side; the mascarpone cheesecake, bland.
THE BOTTOM LINE
A welcome gift.
Reviewed by Peter M. Gianotti, 12/18/08.