Jinju, Korea - Italian at Zio Ricco
This little gem is a rare find in Jinju's narrow streets - a 23-year-old Korean-run "Italian" restaurant which served pretty good food (quote marks around Italian since the food there seemed more 'Western', with sausage platters and salads topped with Cajun chicken on the menu).
Zio Ricco put quite a bit of effort into its decor, transforming its generous space into a Marche-inspired courtyard look, complete with farm implements, faux plants and fruits, even a (non-functional) traditional Italian il forno.
What we ordered:
- Smoked salmon salad. Very fresh, crunchy greens, crowned with generous coils of smoked salmon and sprinkled with capers, chopped stuffed green olives;
- Fresh vegetable salad, where the greens came with hard-boiled egg, corn kernels and sun-dried tomatoes, drizzled with balasamic vinegar;
- Lasagna al forno alla Ferrarese: layers of pasta with very light tomato-minced beef ragu alla Bolognese. A bit of Japanese-style Italian influence here, where the beef content was way lesser than one would expect, giving the dish a light, very tomatoey slant. Lots of melted cheese on top, though. Tasty, but too cheesey for me;
- Oven-baked sausages with salad - this was a generous sausage platter which I'm pretty sure was meant for group sharing - it's listed under the Starters section, and who would order a starter which consisted of 6 sausages of different flavors? The salad was similar to the "fresh vegetable salad" above, sans the egg;
- Spaghetti alle vongole: delicious, with generous amount of clams. Strange addition of broccoli into the dish, but nice all the same :-)
- Spaghetti aglio olio - Ididn't taste this dish, but my colleague who did declared it absolutely perfect. Broccoli also added here :-)
- Fettucinne carbonara - very good, al dente pasta studded with bacon and blanketed with an eggy, creamy sauce though, in place of fresh cream, I thought I detected synthetic cream which Koreans/Japanese are fond of using. And yes, broccoli was added here, too.
Too full from the sausages and pasta for dessert, but we had some very good lattes here. This place is a definite keeper if one is looking for something besides Korean in town.
Zio Ricco Italian Restaurant
#3-19 Dong Sung-dong
I must say the dishes don't have a particularly "Italianate look" to them although they are tasty enough as you report. :-) In fact, the three pasta dishes look almost "Chinese"/"East Asian" to me. Heh. What are those green sprinkles on top of or mixed in with all three pasta dishes? Yes, including broccoli in all three is strange. (Pssst...pasta carbonara is supposed to have neither cream in it nor bits of green...spinach pasta included :-P )