If you’re hearing an “echo” it’s because you’ll find yourself going back again and again to Ecco, the new Italian Eatery located in The Camp next to The Old Vine Cafe. Tim and I were looking for something new and the last couple of times we have been to The Camp we found ourselves at The Old Vine Cafe. Who can resist the wonders that Brandon and Mark bring to the table. But let’s talk about Ecco.
Inside you find a contemporary feel but pieces of the past scatter the walls. The past relates to the food which has old-world Italian taste, but with a modern twist. To start our evening, our very attentive server, ask for our drink orders then recommended the Goat Cheese Stuffed Squash Blossoms in a Roast Tomato Vinaigrette and Basil Oil. In addition I ordered a Salumi plate of aged Prosciutto di Parma, Finocchiona and Bresaola with grilled bread, olives and whole seed mustard.
Let’s talk about the Squash Blossoms. I wanted another serving. These delicate blossoms are stuffed with Goat Cheese, lightly battered and then deep fried just enough for color and crispness. I love goat cheese. For me, you can put Goat Cheese on my least favorite food and I would eat it. Like I said they were crisp, but not in the least greasy.
Our Salumi plate was filled with the three meats, olives, bread and mustard. The prosciutto was like butter. I pilled some on a piece of grilled bread and mustard and put it in my mouth. My tongue touched the Prosciutto and all I could do was put a big smile on my face. So light, so flavorful and tasty! A sip from my Prosecco was the perfect end to our first course.
Onto the maincourse. We ordered two pasta dishes and would have it family style: Orecchiette Salsiccia with Italian Sausage, swiss chard, cremini mushrooms, basil and olive oil – Pappardelle Bolognese with a traditional meat sauce and pecorino romano. Earlier in the week I had a Pappardelle with a Lamb Ragout from Pizzeria Ortica and I have to say that I was in the mood for it, but opted for the Bolognese. Almost-paper thin pasta in a what I call a tease of Bolognese sauce. A tease? Anything more would have overwhelmed the pasta – but let me say that this “tease” was full of flavor. When we were done, I was VERY tempted to pick it up and lick the bowl! The Orecchiette (ear pasta) dish was as simple as things get. With simplicity comes sophistication. Tender pieces of Italian Sausage, wilted chard and basil tossed with the lightest hint of garlic and olive oil. We were both stabbing for the last few pieces of Orecchiette left in the bowl.
I wanted more.
We ended our evening with an order of Zeppole, little Italian doughnuts. I first learned about Zeppole from Giade DiLaurentiis on her show on the Food Network. Warm balls of dough topped with powdered sugar and served with a side of cream. Break into one of the Zeppola (singular of Zeppole) and the warmth of the dough would touch the cream and it kinda melted in your mouth as your bit into it. Once again, something very simple, exploding with flavor.
Chef Kris Kirk, formerly of Sage on the Coast heads up Ecco. Take the time to visit Ecco it will be worth your while. You can visit them on the web at www.eccocm.com
Located in The Camp
2937 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626