Hopefully by now you’ve had a chance to read yesterday’s post on Fellini’s, I didn’t get around to posting it until later than usual. You know I’ve got a real job, right? Sheesh, they actually expect me to do stuff sometimes.
The 11th post in the Atlanta Pizza Days is upon us with Ecco as the destination. Similar to Dynamic Dish, this post is going to be a bit informal in that there are no ratings and blind tasting. I promise I’m not mailing it in, we still have a few destinations to go that will be full blown posts, including a heart-pounding finale.
Also, I hope you appreciate what this has been doing for the economy. I’m spending money like a sailor. Whatever that means.
As is frequently the case, my photos are horrible. It was pretty dark inside of Ecco, and my skillz ain’t great in the dark.
I’m always pumped to try somewhere new, and I’ve checked out Ecco’s menu a few times and liked what I saw. They say it’s a European menu, but it definitely leans towards the Italian side, featuring lots of pasta and wood fired pizzas.
As I wasn’t planning on pulling out the ratings score sheets, we ordered only one pizza, the Margherita, and tried a handful of other dishes. The fried goat cheese appetizer (above) was great. It had a soft, thin fried exterior that gave way to warm and yummy goat cheese. It is served in warm honey and topped with lots of cracked pepper. The flavor combo is a definite winner, and it’s easy to see why it is one of their signature dishes.
For the other appetizer we got the piquillo peppers stuffed with a minced mushroom mixture, sherry, and manchego. It was served bubbling in a clay pot, and I actually enjoyed this most of the two appetizers. I’m not a huge mushroom fan but it just had a lot of great flavors going on and I liked the texture of the mushrooms.
For entree #1 we got the conchigle with eggplant and san marzano tomatoes. The sauce was very rustic, with bright flavors, a fair amount of heat, and a very soft texture that was pleasant and not mushy. We both loved it, though it was a little too spicy for Katie. The portion above is less than half of what you get, I think one of these could definitely satisfy most people. Ecco was great about splitting our entrees, they actually promoted it, which I love.
Now to the important part of the meal, the pizza.
The Margherita was good, but to be honest I would try a different pizza next time. The tomatoes were very bland, which I think really kills a pizza like this. My guess is that they were canned san marzano tomatoes that had been stewed or slightly cooked, so there is no reason for the lack of flavor. If they did happen to be fresh, then the lack of flavor could be seasonal.
The dough was cooked very nicely, and unlike many flatbread style pizzas I’ve had lately, there wasn’t an overpowering amount of flour on the bottom. It had a nice char on the end and the upskirt. My one comment there is that I think the dough itself needed a little more salt. I tasted the cheese on its own and it was definitely above average with a nice fresh mozzarella flavor. If you got a bite with some of the olive oil they had drizzled on top, that definitely enhanced the experience.
I do think this pizza has a lot of potential. The dough did a great job of supporting the toppings despite being a flat bread. It wasn’t overcooked but had good charring. Any margherita dish is all about fantastic quality and if one topping fails, the dish can’t be called great, so that’s why I am not gushing about it.
The portion was of good size, and at a fair price, so really I have no major complaints and I look forward to going back and trying another pizza. However, I don’t know that Ecco will be just a pizza destination for me, as the other dishes I had were better and the prices for the other entrees are comparable or just slightly higher than the pizzas. I think ordering one pizza and one other entree to split is a good bet.
With our dinner we drank a wine that was new to me, the 2007 Terredora di Paolo Falanghina Irpinia. We were looking for a white wine, and the offerings by the glass weren’t enticing me. I wanted something dry, with good acidity so it would pair well with the pasta and red sauce. I’ve been going to Gruner’s a lot when I have this need, but when the waiter suggested this particular wine, I thought it would be a good choice.
Falanghina is a new grape to me, but I have read that many of the Italian white varietals are often dry and meant to pair with Italian foods, so I figured the gamble was worth it. While I don’t have full tasting notes on this wine, it had a floral nose, medium golden color, and was dry, dry, dry. This wine wouldn’t be much fun by itself, and the last few sips with our ice cream dessert were plain awful. But the stone and acid in this wine cut right through the heat of the pasta fantastically, again showing how versatile white wines can be. I think I liked this better than I would have liked any red they could have paired with the pasta.
On an unrelated note, prior to dinner I opened up a bottle of the 2006 Nulles Tarragona VI de Nulles Blanc. Aaron and I agreed it was probably one of the worst wines we’ve tasted in a long time. Rotten apple water…pure garbage. One of the few wines I plan on pouring down the sink unless it amazingly has changed when I taste it again tonight.