Chovy’s Italian Casual

   February 21, 2012 1:36 pm    5

 

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This long President’s Day weekend was a busy one. Between four basketball games, amazing food at Momocho in Cleveland, and lots of driving, I didn’t have much down time. It was nice to just relax Monday and have dinner with friends at Chovy’s Italian Casual at 18228 Conneaut Lake Rd. in Meadville.

Whitney and Justin Catalano joined me and Amanda for dinner. We met at Chovy’s around 6:30 and it wasn’t too crowded. Our server told us about the daily features and took our appetizer order of Fritti Calamari Abruzzi while we looked over the menu. Whitney and Justin decided pretty quickly on their entrées. Whitney chose the Pasta San Remo while Justin went the non-seafood route and ordered the Asiago Chicken. There is a seafood section as well as other seafood dishes spread throughout the menu so to help with my decision making, I left my order up to the recommendation of our server. Amanda decided on the new Garlic Crusted Scallops and I ordered the Seafood Morango.

Each dish came with the choice of salad or soup as well as a basket of fantastic fresh-out-of-the-oven bread. While the other three started with a salad, I wanted to try the soup of the day which was stuffed pepper soup. The soup had really good flavor and texture. Their version of this soup was thinner than I was expecting, but it made it lighter and less filling than some I have had at other places. The Fritti Calamari Abruzzi appetizer arrived with our salads and soup and I couldn’t wait to eat it. The calamari rings were very lightly battered and flash fried as to not overcook them. It was served with a lemon wedge and a chunky tomato sauce and was topped with fresh grated cheese and diced hot peppers. The peppers really gave the squid a good, mild kick. The rings had a wonderful, tender bite and weren’t rubbery in the slightest. The batter was light enough that they weren’t greasy or overly filling. It was a perfect appetizer.

Our main course was served shortly after our starters were cleared away. Amanda’s Garlic Crusted Scallops looked delicious. The dish is made up of large, seared sea scallops sautéed with garlic, tomatoes, fresh basil, lemon and white wine and it is served over risotto. Amanda ordered hers over whole wheat penne instead of the risotto and it was a great choice. The pasta was perfectly cooked as were the scallops. The scallops had a beautiful sear on the outside, were fork tender, and melted in your mouth. The garlic flavor was strong, but not overpowering. The buttery white wine sauce was light and really let the garlic and scallops shine. It also came with a side of vegetables that were slightly heavy on the butter, but were cooked perfectly nonetheless.

My Seafood Morango was a good choice, but I might make a few adjustments next time. A large portion of angel hair pasta was tossed in a white wine lemon butter sauce and filled with large shrimp, bay scallops, and chunks of crab meat and was topped with both hot and sweet peppers. I would order it with heartier pasta next time to hold up better against the seafood, but the seafood itself was fantastic. The shrimp were beautifully cooked, as were the scallops. They were seared like Amanda’s and were wonderfully buttery and rich. The crab pieces got a little lost among the pasta and peppers. The peppers gave it some heat that added a great layer of flavor to dish. The sauce itself is light, and by getting the dinner with a thicker noodle, I’m sure it would let the delicious flavors in the sauce elevate even more.

Our dinner was finished with their new Dolce de Leche cheesecake. It had a thick layer of caramel-swirled mousse with a delicious meringue on top as well as a French vanilla crust. It was the perfect size for the two of us to share.

Our total bill was under $50 before tip and well worth it. There are a select few choices on the menu that are in the $25 range, but most of the dishes are between $12 and $20 which is very reasonable, especially considering the great quality of the food. Chovy’s Italian Casual is open seven days a week till at least 10pm every night. To contact the restaurant, their number is (814) 724-1286 and their email is info@chovysitaliancasual.com.

Until next time,

Andrew — Beard vs. Food

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5 Responses to “Chovy’s Italian Casual”

  1. Kevin says:

    We make the drive from Girard to Chovy’s whenver we can. We love it there and it sounds like your meals turned out great. We always have a good experience at Chovy’s. Great food at a very fair prices.

  2. Pam Parker says:

    We love Chovy’s – -went there for Valentine’s Day and I am a seafood nut. Great place.

  3. Kevin says:

    Am I the only person in Erie who loves a great steak? Come on, folks! Let’s vote for steak and send The Beard on a journey to tasty town!

  4. Rob says:

    I’m a big fan of Chovy’s. Very good food at a reasonable price with friendly service. I usually order chicken and shrimp francaise when it’s on the menu, but I’ll definitely give one of these dishes a chance… Thanks!

  5. Karen says:

    I always stop at Chovy’s when visiting my family in Meadville, which is often. Amazing food and atmosphere. Great wine list. Wonderful wedding soup. The staff are always so friendly. Love it!

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