Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Ciao! Pizza & Pasta in Chelsea: Quality Food In a Small Package
During the last couple years, the news has been talking about the evolution of Chelsea, how it is being transformed with new apartment buildings, new hotels, and plenty of renovation. It once had a more infamous reputation, being seen as a heavily crime-ridden area, and still is seen that way by some despite the significant recent changes. It is a city on the upswing, which will see even more positive growth and investment in the coming years. One of those positive changes that will be seen is new and interesting restaurants, like Ciao! Pizza & Pasta.
Having opened a little over a month ago, on September 14, Ciao! Pizza & Pasta took over the location of a former Chinese restaurant, which had previously been there for about 23 years. Ciao is owned by Edson Coimbra, a former General Manager at L'Andana in Burlington, and Chef Marvin Posada, a former Executive Chef at L'Andana. Both have worked at other local restaurants as well and eventually decided to open their own place together. I first met Edson about eight years ago while he was working at L'Andana though I hadn't met Chef Posada until I visited Ciao. Edson lives in Chelsea, only a short distance from Ciao, and is a strong supporter of the Chelsea community.
I was excited to check out the new Ciao, especially after hearing more about the concept, a wood-fire pizzeria with homemade pasta. I went once to Ciao as Edson's guest and then returned on my own two more times, to try even more items on their menu. The restaurant is located across the street from the Chelsea District Court and down the street from the Mystic Brewery. There is a tiny parking lot next to the restaurant and plenty of street parking nearby.
One aspect of his cooking which struck me was his understanding of textures in various dishes. That might not be an element of cooking which many of us think about, but it can be important, elevating a dish from good to excellent. And poor textures in a dish can doom it, even if the taste is there. For example, the various pastas were cooked to an excellent firmness, a nice al dente. If your pasta is too firm, or too soft, it will detract from the dish. The addition of tiny, crunchy pieces of chorizo atop a Bolognese dish as well as the addition of crispy duck skin to a duck confit pizza elevated both dishes, enhancing the taste. Even the texture of the pizzas is designed to please the customer.
The Panini bread is made from their pizza dough, cooked in the wood-fire oven, and is thin and crunchy, adding a nice textural component to the tasty slices of chicken. It was a hearty and good sandwich, making for a nice lunch and a better alternative than the basic sub from many other takeout places..
Good luck to Edson & Chef Posada!