Posted by Carten Cordell / Monday, July 29th, 2013
Photos by Molly Jacob
“Our chef calls it Darth Vader,” says Jennifer Short, pastry chef at the soon to be open Ovvio Osteria, about the restaurant’s wood-burning oven. “But I think it looks more like Dora the Explorer.”
That’s where the new restaurant’s specialty pizza will be baked by Noelynn Rickey, who took a week-long baking class at King Arthur Flour taught by, who Rickey calls, the “god of bread”: Jeffrey Hamelman.
Rickey, Short and executive chef Chris Watson, who all worked together at BRABO by Robert Wiedmaier in Alexandria, are currently preparing for Ovvio’s grand opening this August.
This “osteria,” the name the Italians give a place like Ovvio that serves simple food and wine, is inspired by understated cuisine from the Calabria region in southern Italy. “That’s where one of the owners is from,” says Watson. “The seafood on the menu is very Calabria-style.”
Watson created Ovvio’s dishes by drawing on his experience working in 2004 at three Michelin-starred restaurants in Northern Italy. Clam pizza with grilled treviso, slow braised pork cheeks, tagalinni and white clams spiced with peperoncini are among the lunch and dinner menu items that are made with local and seasonal ingredients. For dessert: a honey and pine nut tart with vanilla gelato and tiramisu.
Watson plans on introducing a brunch menu a couple weeks after Ovvio’s grand opening, which will include classic Italian dishes, such as ricotta doughnuts.
The bar will serve a collection of Italian and domestic red and white wines along with a selection of beers and classic cocktails made with Italian-influenced flavors.
The restaurant seats 130 and its interior decor blends warm colors with wood and metallic accents, including a bar that’s made with salvaged barn wood from upstate New York. /Ovvio, 2727 Merrilee Dr., Merrifield
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Tags: Brabo by Robert Wiedmaier, Calabria, Chris Watson, Italian cuisine, Jeffrey Hamelman, Jennifer Short, King Arthur Flour, Merrfield, Mosaic District, Noelynn Rickey, Northern Virginia Magazine, northern virginia restaurants, nova mag, Ovvio Osteria