Ovio Bistro Eclectica <W. Seattle>
Rarely have I ever had such a pleasing experience. West Seattle's Alaska Junction is full of fun places to dine and all of them were quite busy last night as I sampled fare from one end of California Ave. to the other. Ovio was my first stop. My friend and I hopped up to the bar and were immediately presented with all the menus the restaurant offered. At first, I was skeptical (as usual) to see such a varied menu representing flavors from seemingly every corner of the world. I was intrigued however by the simple design of the hand written looking menu and the fact that everyone at the bar was having food that all looked appealing. I had the feeling that Ovio was taking a playful approach to its offerings and not being overly serious. I immediately honed in on an appetizer of Duck and Foie Gras Sausage with Apple Compote, Maple Syrup and Fried Quail Egg. I scanned the wine list for an appropriate beverage and decided on some bubbly. I got a split of Jacob's Creek Sparkling Pinot Noir, Australia. I didn't expect it to be superb, but at $6.75 a split (under $3.50 a glass when you've fininsh it) I wasn't overly concerned. It was a bit like a Spanish Cava, pleasant and refreshing. I knew it would work well with any foie. The appetizer was a smallish sausage, split lengthwist and laid out like an open oval. A mound of compote sat in the middle and a fried quail egg sat on top. The sausage had only to sit a moment on my tongue to transport me into foodie heaven. The flavors and seasoning we're so, so, deep that the richness of the quail yolk and sweetness of the maple syrup were light by comparison, brilliant! My friend had braised beef short ribs, served in a very spicy black bean sauce along with hand made tortillas. The ribs were cooked to meaty gelatin tenderness and the flavors of the sauce leaped out of the bowl. Chef, Brenda Rodriguez, is clearly at the top of her game. Service is impecible, prices are low-ish. I'll definately be back soon.