A Taste of Naples: Olio e Piú

 

On a brisk autumn day, I got a chance to escape to the Napoli coast, albeit for a few hours. A quaint eatery in the West Village, Olio e Piú was a welcome relief from the downcast skies. The warm hearth crackled, the ambiance set with beautiful earth tones of vintage furnishings and an eclectic sound track of everything from smooth jazz to folk. I felt both invited and welcome to the feast that was on the way.

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Chef Dominick Pepe provided some of the bistro’s signature dishes, starting with the Polpette di Vitello Ripiene, a classic veal meatball stuffed with ricotta and served with arugula, fresh Parmesan and tomato.A simple appetizer with bold flavors and incredible texture to boot, it was beautifully plated and quickly devoured (and the salad too–fresh tomatoes, zucchini, and grilled portobellos).

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He followed up with Linguine Nere alla Sarda, an exquisite mix of octopus, shrimp, tomatoes, potatoes, arugula and chili flakes served over handmade black pasta. It was something that you truly have to experience to appreciate. I consider myself quite the conservative diner, especially with a staple in the city like Italian food, but his interpretations and flavor pairings were both exciting and ingenious.

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To cap off an already indulgent afternoon, I welcomed a few house drinks (I really recommend the Summer Olio) before the final course: Cornetto di Bufala. Salami, sausage, ricotta, and mozzarella, all wrapped up in a wonderfully crusted dough, overlaid with prosciutto di Parma and  Parmigiano Reggiano and served with arugula and a light vinaigrette.


To say that I left full would be an understatement, so much so that I took a rain check on dessert. But I will be back, especially with a full brunch and dinner menu that I’ve yet to sample. If you’re near the intersection of Christopher Street and 6th Avenue, make a beeline for Olio e Piú. You won’t forget it.

Chef Dominick Pepe