Feed the Children at Ulivo’s Anniversary Dinner

The one year anniversary of Italian restaurant Ulivo was yesterday, November 11, but just because you missed the actual anniversary doesn’t mean you can’t still celebrate the restaurant and help a good cause too.

Through November 15th, Ulivo is offering a three-course, prix fixe menu to its regular dinner menu. Proceeds from the prix fixe menu are being donated to the Feed the Children charity, helping those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

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Vivid Italian at Ulivo

Craig LaBan visits Ulivo, the Queen Village BYOB that Joseph Scarpone has opened after closing Sovalo in 2008.

But if ever there was a bright little dumpling to lead the way to the end of that path, the ethereal ricotta gnocchi he serves at Ulivo – glowing bright in a halo of truffle butter – are as powerful a beacon as any. They’re so delicate, these soft puffs of milky sweetness just dissolve like a reverie, melting away into a truffled hum that warms contentment to the core. My fork, seemingly magnetized, is already in motion back to the plate for another. Simple food done just right, no matter the setting, can heal a lot of history.

Two Bells – Very Good

Ulivo [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Ulivo [Official Site]

Ulivo Does the Italian BYOB Right

Brian Freedman works “perfect” or “perfectly” into his review of Joseph Scarpone’s new Ulivo six times. The whole experience isn’t perfect but as you might guess, Freedman likes it perfectly fine.

Fried polenta was perfect for a blustery winter’s night, each fluffy-centered cornmeal and semolina baton encased in a perfectly golden crust and complicated by both fontina and parmigiano reggiano, as well as an anchovy-spiked salsa rosa. It looked like a perfect plate of sliced French toast, and was every bit as comforting. Grilled octopus showed off Scarpone’s acumen with a difficult ingredient: meaty cuts, braised and then marinated prior to hitting the open flame, then tossed with slivers of sopressata, had the texture of tender steak and were beautifully accompanied by olive oil-braised Yukon gold potatoes singing with the brightness of a whole citrus vinaigrette.

Chef Joseph Scarpone Is Back—This Time, With the Impressive Ulivo [Philadelphia Weekly]
Ulivo [Official Site]

Worth the Wait for Scarpone and Ulivo

Lost in the rush of December restaurant openings has been Joseph Scarpone’s Ulivo. Adam Erace visits the Queen Village Italian BYOB and finds straightforward cooking that manages not to be predictable.

As people recognize Ulivo’s worth in the coming months, expect to hear a lot about Scarpone’s gnocchi. These ricotta gumdrops are legit, so soft and airy they melt on the tongue like Holy Communion. Greened with sautéed spinach and truffled, the pasta had a light coating of beurre blanc, a blasphemous but harmonious French gloss on an Italian favorite. Another pasta, a thick, rigatoni-like noodle called ceppo, sought inspiration from North Africa with crumbles of spicy merguez stowing away in its hollow tubes. Wilted leaves of curly red mustard rode through the ceppo, too, a nod to Scarpone’s former home, Napa, where “wild mustard grows all over the Valley floor.”

Delayed Gratification [City Paper]
Ulivo [Official Site]

Weekend: Where You Gonna Eat?

For most of you reading this, the only real question this weekend is which of the several new restaurants scheduled to open over the next couple days you’re actually going to be able to get into. Though you’ll have to wait a few more days for the debut of Starr’s Route 6 (scheduled for Thursday the 17th), and things still appear to be up in the air at Ulivo (which Grub Street reported did not make its scheduled opening yesterday due to “situations beyond their control”), there’s still Birra (which opened last week), the new Percy Street BBQ (running smoothly since Monday in the Comcast Center) and Ela, which is scheduled to throw wide the doors in about an hour.

Looking for something different? Read on…

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Quick Bites: More Openings

Ulivo joins the cavalcade of openings this week as Joe Scarpone’s Italian BYOB opens this Thursday. [Meal Ticket]

Vedge is just around the corner. We suspect some of you may have already received an invite to a special open house. The grand opening is currently slated for Monday, November 21st.

Jake’s Wayback Burgers has opened in the Great Northeast. It is the first Philadelphia location for the rapidly expanding burger and shakes chain.

M Kee (not inspired by South Park’s Mr. Mackey, mmmkay) has opened at 1002 Race Street. The duck house is a bargain, with most dishes under $7. [The Insider]

Now open seven days a week is Earth Bread + Brewery in Mt. Airy. The bar/restaurant will no longer be dark on Mondays.

Konak has closed its doors. The Old City Turkish restaurant had been open since 2003.

Quick Bites: Barcade Plays a Game, Crisp Hopes, Sabrina’s Opens

When Barcade opens in Fishtown it will be filled with fun games. But right now the bar is playing the waiting game. Health Department approval stands between the bar and its opening. [Facebook]

Crisp, the falafel spot on 18th Street that comes from the Big Apple is aiming to open on this Thursday. [Twitter]

The third location of Sabrina’s Cafe opened yesterday at 34th and Powelton. Meal Ticket has some pictures. [Meal Ticket]

A quick drive by of 13th and Pine revealed the doors open at King Tut, the Egyptian/Middle Eastern spot by Richard Nevada.

Manayunk Brewery & Restaurant has finally dried out after Irene and Lee. The brewpub is back open. [The Insider]

Joe Scarpone whose Sovalo had a praised run in Northern Liberties is now looking at Queen Village. Ulivo will be taking over Trattoria Alla Costiera at Passyunk and Catharine.  Look for pastas, pizzas, salads and paninis by November 1st. [The Insider]