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[SEA] Ovio... and neighborhood vs destination resturants

Sandra V | Apr 30, 200308:50 PM

A couple of Friday's ago, in celebration of completing our never-ending painting job, we decided that we needed something different from our local haunts and hit a not so local neighborhood restaurant: Ovio.

Ovio's had some good press lately so it wasn't surprising that 9:00 was the earliest reservation we could get, calling one day ahead. However, I think the late reservation was due in as much to the size of the room (somewhat on the small side) and the fact that this little area of West Seattle is pretty devoid of other options.

High points of the evening:

Ovio makes a mean lemon drop and has some very pretty glassware.
The service is friendly, almost excessively so.
Our entrees, the Pork Porterhouse with a mushroom jus risotto and the Fried Chicken with Bacon Cheddar Mashed Potatoes were fantastically executed and plate licking good.
The wine list is pretty reasonably priced and varied.

The not so high points of the evening:

The room is very, very noisy. When we were first seated, every table plus the small bar, was full and it was a strain to be heard. After people filtered out, it was more tolerable and we began to hear the full Norah Jones CD over the sound system. We weren't sure if music had been playing the whole time and we never heard it or if they didn't waste the effort since the room was so loud.
Our salads (something with butter lettuce and a blue cheese type creamy dressing) were over dressed and over seasoned, meaning that when I agreed to the fresh ground pepper on my salad, it was too, too much. I thought the server should have known how peppery the dressing was and offered up some advice.
Understandable, this is something of a neighborhood place but I was still a little dismayed to see the woman at the table next to me sitting in her socks, Birkenstocks discarded under the table, when we were seated.

All in all decent food but overall not quite what I was expecting from the reviews. I think I may have been expecting too much from what is essentially a neighborhood restaurant. And, while West Seattle is only a 15 minutes from Queen Anne on a Friday night, I can have a similar experience, with a bit more atmosphere and, unfortunately, complimentary smoke from the bar, at Sapphire in my neighborhood.

So, I've been wondering, what make a neighborhood restaurant into a destination restaurant? I'd return to Ovio if I happened to be in West Seattle for some reason but it wouldn't draw me back there the way, say, Cafe Lago draws me across I-5.

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