Good Italian from a Talented Chef

Zest is the word of the day in Craig LaBan’s review of Tavolo in Huntingdon Valley.

The zesty little lamb meatballs, served with mint pesto beneath a chip of shaved parmesan, are another dish not to miss. So is the “onion brulee” appetizer, an inventive Jalon signature borrowed from Augusto’s that is essentially a hollow roasted onion stuffed with a creamy crabcake, perched atop a nest of spaghetti squash, then ringed with thyme-scented butter.

That spaghetti squash makes another notable cameo in the somewhat misnamed but intriguing “scampi.” This updated version lacks the garlicky punch implied by the classic dish, but I thoroughly appreciated this lighter take, which substituted the no-carb threads of squash and zucchini laces for pasta, then dabbed the huge grilled shrimp in an herbaceous lemon jam that brought the dish to life. A rigatoni all’amatriciana was purely traditional, with plenty of rendered pancetta and pepper flakes to give it a rustic zest.

Two Bells – Very Good

Tavolo [Philadelphia Inquirer]