Uovo is a great rustic American restaurant with Mediterranean touches in the East Village. My boyfriend and I made our first visit last night and were very impressed by the cute space, the quality and value of the food, and the personality of the servers.
Uovo's exterior is mostly glass. The interior is mostly exposed brick and wood, with hanging egg-shaped lights around the perimeter of the room. I like the simple decor except for the shade of green used to trim the front wall of the restaurant around the windows and the back wall. It is a little too bright. The restaurant seats about 30 people, with four barstools along the back bar as well. It was nearly full when we arrived and full when we left, which was at 11:00. While the restaurant is cozy, it is not at all cramped. In fact, we were seated at a floating table near the bar and had no one sitting beside us, which made for easy conversation.
There were only two servers on the floor over the course of the night, which sometimes made it hard to get orders taken. However, once orders were taken, food came out at a nice pace. And, the knowledgeable and helpful, but also down-to-earth, attitude of the servers made us very comfortable. There was a separate man who brought out food, bussed tables, and generally made sure we were comfortable. In addition, the chef made appearances about every ten minutes or so to make sure things were running smoothly at the front of the restaurant.
There is no bread basket at Uovo, but we were started with a small bowl of toasted pumpkin seeds that were addictive. We each decided to start with a salad. I had the bitter greens salad with warm anchovy dressing and lemon. I am not a huge anchovy fan, so one might ask why it would occur to me to order this salad, but I was very pleased. While the anchovy flavor was pronounced, it was not at all overpowering and was nicely balanced by the strong taste of the greens and the lemon. My boyfriend ordered the spinach salad with goat cheese, flat bread, and pine nuts.
For mains, I had the monkfish and shrimp stew with garlic mayo. The "stew" was not exactly that, but it was very good. It was a shallow pool of very vibrantly flavored stewed tomatoes with a few fingerling potatoes thrown in. On top of this base were two pieces of monkfish, topped with a dollop of the mayo and one shrimp, with head and shell still on (making it somewhat annoying to eat). With the exception of the blah potatoes, everything in this dish worked very well. My favorite part was the "stew," which was really delicious. My boyfriend had the hanger steak with marrow sauce and fries. The sliced hanger steak, which he'd ordered medium rare, was perfectly cooked (very melt-in-your mouth) and nicely complemented by the textured sauce. The fries were great too--meaty but extremely crispy. We were both very happy.
I finished my meal with the ricotta fritters with hot chocolate. The ricotta fritters, three to a serving, were great. They were almost entirely ricotta cheese, with only a light batter. The ricotta cheese was lightly flavored with orange peel. The flavor of the fritters was subtle--not at all overly sweet. It was almost overpowered by the hot fudge. In fact, the hot fudge was a better complement to my boyfriend's homemade maple walnut ice cream. This was very nice, with roughly chopped walnuts strewn haphazardly throughout.
Overall, a great meal that I'd definitely recommend others check out.
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