Here's Our Tip: Rush to Amalfi Before Everyone Finds Out About It

"Rush" is the key word right now when it comes to Amalfi, the new Mediterranean restaurant with entrees prepared by Chef Giancarlo Ferrara. Rush to get to it because while there's usually not a large wait for a table, that will change. Once you do get to Amalfi, do not be in a rush to leave. Although the service is attentive and courses arrive in a timely fashion, the food is stuff to be painstakingly savored. Barrel your way through your courses and you'll miss out on the nuances latent in the flavor architecture of each dish.

On a chilly night early in the week, Amalfi's dimly it dining room was buzzing with energy. My dining companions and I began with a starter of Scottish salmon cured in sugar, lemon, orange, and sea salt, whose warm citrus notes and strong briny notes were well complemented by a base salad of julienned zucchini and carrots in orange-infused olive oil. Fragrant herb cream cheese lay within the rolls of salmon. This dish is technically a special, though I hope it becomes a permanent fixture on the menu.

The second course, as its name predicted, was a mouthful. Polipo arrostiti con scarola al capperi offered layers of spices, textures, plants, and proteins that gave rise to one of the most unusual mollusk dishes I have ever encountered. Resting on a bed of sauteed escarole were strips of roasted octopus infused with a pairing of garlic and rosemary.

This story continues on the next page.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Joanna O'Leary