Sunday, February 26, 2012


For a neighborhood joint, this relatively new female-cheffed Sicilian is perfectly serviceable.  Le Zie, its quasi-landmarked neighbor, is of commensurate quality and price, but Eolo is a little fresher and more modern.  The room is slightly more attractive, but more for the absence of Zie's atrocious illuminated plastic wave than for the charm of Eolo.  That said, it has sort of a quirky quaintness; if the room was smaller, it might have worked better.  Instead it feels a little sparse and echoey, and in the absence of any audible soundtrack, my conversation (while always captivating) was unfortunately being enjoyed by all.   Tiled floors and simple wooden chairs give a somewhat rustic feel.

On to the food, which is bountiful in choice, and of what we had, very good.  The menu is written in the Sicilian dialect, which can make for amusing discourse before your Grappe lu Pititu arrive.  We began with salt-roasted beets that benefitted magnificently from a salty, zippy syrah dressing with tarragon and mint, but probably didn't need the dense, nut-crusted goat cheese smeared inextricably to the sides of the bowl.  Charred octopus was toothsome and nicely smoky, contrasting nicely with a wilted salad of bitter greens, tomatoes, snappy slivered red onions and tender chickpeas.

There is a broad selection of primi, housemade pastas that looked exceptional: perhaps worth returning for.   In particular, a black squid ink tagliolini with an array of seafood smelled divine, and a wild fennel tagliatelle with a sardine ragu sounds intriguing.  Secondi are divided into fish and meats; we tried a special of fat scallops, only two of them, but prepared with a robust sautee of cubed butternut squash and brussels sprouts leaves studded with currants- a novel take on a classic Sicilian agro-dolce.  Contorni offered up brussels sprouts as well, and they were well-cooked, but suffered from an excess vinegar that overwhelmed the smokey cubes of pancetta.

Although we certainly didn't overindulge on entrees, we still went light on dessert with a lovely coupe of zabaione with forest berries, whipped fluffy atop berries, pomegranate seeds, chunks of pineapple and juicy sections of winter citrus.

I might not travel boroughs to visit Eolo, but for the unique Sicilian focus (much rarer in the city than ubiquitous Tuscan) and proximity to casa mia, I'd say camina chi pantofuli finu a quannu non hai i scarpi.   Or something like that.

190 Seventh Avenue

(646) 225 6606

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