At Jovia, a Surprising Italian Renaissance

Jovia, given up for dead by some observers after the departure of ace chef Josh DeChellis last year, is showing strong signs of life. Recent visitors report assured, inventive Italian-leaning food from DeChellis’s successor, Eben Copple. “Our meal was nothing short of magical,” raves Peter Wells.

Their dinner positively killed. The first hint of deliciousness: an awesome new soup—a creamy yet not heavy celery root purée with mussels, anchored by an ale base, deepened by a swirl of balsamic, and lifted and refreshed by mint.

Two heavenly pastas followed: house-made pappardelle with black olives and mushrooms, and bucatini all’amatriciana in a rich, meaty, truffle-scented sauce of braised veal cheek. Then, two near-perfect secondi: short rib perfectly braised in red wine sauce, served over luxurious polenta, and tender, chill-banishing venison in blazing crimson beet sauce, served over root vegetables and broccoli rabe.

Before dessert, a revelatory palate cleanser: house-made quince paste under a scoop of tangerine gelato and a crush of pistachios, with an unexpected but welcome herbal note from parsley. Finally: light, refreshing torta di limon, accented with fried sage, candied lemon wheels, and sugared walnuts. And a masterpiece in chocolate, budino di cioccolata, with a deep smoky note from Lagavulin scotch. “Stupid delicious,” Peter sighs.

Service was cheerful and warm, even for a couple of walk-ins seated in the bar area, and this fabulous dinner for two totaled just $143—little more than half the bill for a recent splurge at Brooklyn’s River Cafe, and 10 times the experience, adds Peter.

Jovia [Upper East Side]
135 E. 62nd Street (between Park and Lexington avenues), Manhattan

Board Links: Burke and Wells Return: Double Review, River Cafe (Brooklyn), Jovia

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