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“Uovo-- CLOSED”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out New American East Village Moderate Good

I love restaurants with chemistry—intimate little places that give off a tactile sense of warmth, intimacy, and excitement that almost gives you butterflies in anticipation of the evening and the meal to come. And I felt that energy when I entered Uovo, a sweet, breezy corner spot on 11th Street and Avenue B, steeped in charm with hard wood floors, rustic walls of exposed brick, chalk boards scratched with daily specials, and a long bar topped off with a shelf of colorful Ball-jarred pickled vegetables.

Unfortunately, while the place gives good vibe and made me want to spend many a night dining there, the food gave me little desire to return. And after that atmospheric build up, such an uneven meal was a major let down.

The chef and owner of this lovely corner spot is Matt Hamilton, who has worked at Zuni Café in San Francisco and most recently here in New York City under the tutelage of the cool diva of Triscuits, sardines, and canned chickpeas, Gabrielle Hamilton, at Prune (no relation). Her style is in evidence all over his bar snacks menu that includes cheese and crackers, deep-fried pickles, shrimp fritters, and sweetbread poppers served with a harissa mayo. While the mayo with those poppers was terrific, sadly the sweetbread popper part of the equation was not. The sweetbreads were cut so thin you could not really get much of the texture or flavor of that marvelous gland; these pups were mostly breading. Not that there is anything wrong with a popper of crispy breading, but a bit more sweetbread would have given them more soul. And as for the rest of the menu, I’d have to say that while the intention to deliver honest, invigorating, and soulful food seems to be there, the execution is off.

Uovo, which means egg in Italian, symbolizes for Hamilton the beginning, and respect for the simplicity of ingredients. This philosophy is an earnest one and one that I respect and admire, but he misses the mark when his laudable philosophy about food and ingredients comes head to head with the practical matter of cooking.

His dinner menu is divided into four sections, none of which is labeled, but each of which follows the progression of a meal, starting with salads and small plates, moving onto appetizers, then entrees, and sides. I was having dinner with Steven, Susie, and Court, all high-quality eaters and among my family of close friends, and we were intrigued and excited by the menu. We started with a couple of s ... [more, click below]

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Other restaurants in East Village :
+ Yujin-- Closed   + Jack's Luxury Oyster Bar   + Mermaid Inn   + Five Points   + Lavagna   + Five Points   + Bond Street   + Jewel Bako   + Alphabet Kitchen   + In Vino   + Bao 111   + Chikalicious   + Il Buco   + Hearth   + Lima's Taste   + Mercadito   + Hedeh   + Momofuku   + Una Pizza Napoletana   + Winebar   + Uovo-- CLOSED   + Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction   + Gotham Bar & Grill   + Colors   + Chinatown Brasserie   + Knife and Fork   + European Union-- NEW CHEF; SEE APRIL 2007 Review   + Aroma Kitchen and Winebar   + Stand   + European Union   + Mercat   + Gemma   + Back Forty   + The Smith   + Seymour Burton   + Belcourt   + Graffiti   + The Redhead   + Double Crown    + Apiary   + Joe Doe   + Apiary by guest reviewer Kiri Tannenbaum   + DBGB   + Northern Spy   + Goat Town   + Saxon + Parole   + Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria   + Acme   + Calliope   + Nicoletta   + JEPPNEY by Claire Jaffe   + Feast   

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