Friday, February 3, 2012

A SQUIDlicious night at Zio Cecio Cucina Italiana

Zio Cecio - 5*s

When I heard1 that one of the 2 brothers that started Arcodoro Pomodoro had branched out to form his own restaurant, I was psyched. They have apparently been open for around 10 to 11 weeks. Just like the aforementioned restaurant, the website for Zio Cecio makes references to a Sardinian form of Italian food. I love Arcodoro Pomodoro. It's one of those restaurants I have photos on my computer just begging to be added to a blog post so I can share my finds with the lovely people of the world. But I'm a slacker. This place, at least judging from what we ordered, might even be better than Arcodoro Pomodoro. Sadly though, The Cupcakery isn't next door.

Overall ... delicious! The fish all tasted so fresh. As a calamari aficionado, (we all have to have our obsessions, right?) I think this may be one of the best plates of it I've had. I'm the kind of girl who orders calamari every time I see it on the menu. I'm often the same way with queso. And the color yellow. Anyways. You could test the freshness of the fish through the breadcrumbs. Fish that was wonderfully salted and seasoned. My dining mate said it was very interesting as I inquired whether he tasted olive on the calamari. I couldn't figure out whether this taste was in the calamari or the cocktail sauce or in my mind. So I sought out a manager, a.k.a. a man in black (a suit). He informed me that the calamari is made from a variety of fish (which is apparently what Paranza means): shrimp, squid (the usual fish in calamari), and the like. It's also worth mentioning that I was quite enjoying the red sauce accompanying the calamari. Not that the calamari needed any sauce. 
I should say that even the less calamari-obsessed were won over by Francisco Farris's rendition of the Fritto Di Paranza.

I think I'm going to stick with the English for menu items. As much as I may pretend when ordering, I don't speak Italian. Though I do know fritto means fried! I mean, golly. Who doesn't crave some fried fish? Another appetizer that everyone was fond of was the Baby octopus with squid ink and homemade orzo pasta. Mmm. Ink. What's not to love? Like Scott Reitz before me, I also felt that the only thing wrong with this dish was that it needed more squid. More squid! More squid!! Oh oops, he was referring to that other squid dish. I may get things wrong. I may misquote. I might make up words. Forgive me. I'm just an unpaid blogger, after all.

The inky sauce was delicious. It even made me enjoy the pumpkin seed shaped pieces of pasta. I'm not a huge pasta gal. It bores me some. So sue me. My recommendation would be for the dish to focus more on the squid and less on the risotto-like pieces of pasta. Not that they tasted like risotto. Image wise they just reminded me of risotto. But objectively, these are very well made, delicious pieces of pasta. A Plus.
Not only did we get one squid-ish appetizer, but we got TWO. The second one had roasted tomatoes and was supposed to be spicy, but really wasn't. Thus, we stayed friends - as saucy a gal as I may be, I'm not a spice fan. Though I still like cinnamon and the like. I can't even think through the spice. I try to be objective, but my brain signals me the thumbs down. And I think 'why?' This was quite a nice dish. Though not as impressive as that ink. The squid was tasty, as were the tomatoes accompanying them.

 I followed the advice of the review (mentioned below), and stuck to ordering appetizers and pasta dishes. The review recommended staying away from entrees like the salted fish or steak, and so we did. At $64 for fish and after a thoroughly delicious meal, I don't regret doing so one bit. Here was our lineup: Squid Ink infused Spaghetti with fresh clams, Insalata Di Mare [fresh seafood steamed in a medley of seaweed], Ravioli filled with Seafood & Ricotta covered by a pistachio cream sauce, and one of the specials: the Cippolini [the Italian version of a seafood boulibase stew, ya know, all tomato-ey]. Here's a link to the menu: Sounds scrumptious, no? The photos below are posted in the order I listed our entrees above.

Obviously if you order the squid ink appetizer I recommended above, you don't need more squid ink infused pasta. I am a fan of anything with squid, and especially with their ink. Sometimes I contemplate buying ink, but I have no idea what to do with it. Either way, the preparations with squid ink here were remarkably well done.

The salad was actually surprisingly delicious. The seafood tasted fresh. That always makes all the difference. I'd definitely order this again. My dish of ravioli was creamy, heavy, and delicious. But against the protests of my stomach, my plate was cleaned off quickly. As was the case with every other plate at the table. The pistachio flavor was delicious. After a recent salmon with toasted hazelnuts venture, I've decided nuts and fish are the perfect combination. Last but not least, the fish stew was delicious. The taste of fresh fish really does permeate. In a town full of mostly not-so-fresh fish, it's always much too exciting having a meal like this. 

So I wasn't totally sure about ordering dessert but after all this delicious food, we just... had to!
Slow on the draw... the gelato was half-melted
before I snapped it's portrait
It looks like ice cream.. but it's not!
Maddalena's Cheesecake: listed as Francesco's grandmother's
favorite cheesecake.
The gelato of the day was made from Mirto wine, a wine made from mulberry bushes. Our waiter told us it had a subtle taste. To me it mostly tasted like a very sweet vanilla. It did taste more like ice cream than gelato. But I'm not one to mix up taste and words. It was tasty. As far as desserts go at these fancy places, ice cream is usually a safe choice. It's almost always at least pretty good, especially if I'm in a fruity mood. My eye, on the other hand, was more drawn to the Goccia, chocolate mousse and chocolate drops. I assume the chocolate drops refer to the melted chocolate drizzled on top of and around the mousse. Both the mousse and the drops were enjoyable. The mousse had a rich, lush, chocolatey taste. But in that milk chocolate kind of way. It was also very soft. Ala ice cream. So if you like your mousse a little firmer, you might want to abstain. Or if you're one of those people who only likes dark chocolate..

The cheesecake was very well done. He uses sour cream instead of butter cream to make into a lighter cheesecake. It had a nice dense texture. Just the way I like it. In a town full of substandard cheesecake, it topped my list as far as Dallas cheesecakes go. However, I'm not the biggest cheesecake fan. Out of all of the desserts, the mousse won me over more than the others. But it's not exactly a surprise. If you know me, you know I like chocolate.

We sat on the patio. Twas nice.
The bathroom. Personally I always want
to know what the bathroom looks like.
I know it's been a ridiculous amount of time since I've posted anything and I apologize. I'll get better, I promise.

Located at:
On Lovers Ln., between Inwood and Lemmon
4615 W. Lovers Ln.
Dallas, TX 75209
(214) 351-1100
Open Mon-Sun 5-10 PM

Zio Cecio Cucina Italiana on Urbanspoon

1Reitz, Scott. "At Zio Cecio, Priced Out Until the Pasta." Dallas Observer. 29 December 2011. 2 February 2012. <>.

1 comment:

  1. Zounds great. Hope I get to try it

    Yo DaDa