Fresh Look: Chef Maurizio Ferrarese Puts His Stamp On Sud Italia

Sud Italia recently landed Maurizio Ferrarese, the well known Italian chef from Quattro at the Four Seasons. Owner Shanon Scott brought Ferrarese on board in December, and over the past month the chef has been focusing on new dishes inspired by Italian coastal cuisine, fresh seafood and fresh pasta. New items are sprinkled throughout the lunch and dinner menus and Scott is thinking about launching a family style menu over the next few months. Here are some of the new dishes we sampled on a recent visit as guests of the restaurant.

One of the new fish dishes offered as an appetizer is the signature prosciutto di Tonno. It features limoncello-cured ahi tuna served on top of scapece eggplant (scapece is a type of pickling popular in Italian cooking). Scott and his family make the limoncello themselves and the result is a cured tuna with firm texture and complex flavor that compliments the marinated eggplant served underneath. The eggplant is marinated with vinegar, garlic and fresh mint from Sud’s on-site garden. At $14 on the lunch menu, this starter is a good size for sharing and not overly filling.
Signature Prosciutto di Tonno. Photo courtesy by Phaedra Cook.
Keeping things on the light side is the insalata invernale. While the fennel and forma di frant cheese-whipped avocado in this dish worked well together, the salad fell short overall in comparison to the other items we sampled. There were not enough of the shaved winter beets and the dish had too much kale, which overwhelmed the more delicate ingredients with its bitterness.  This salad is on the lunch menu for $7.
Insalata Invernale. Photo by Phaedra Cook.
Chef Maurizio’s take on the very popular dish Cacio e Pepe is made with a wide bucatini pasta, pecorino cheese sauce and topped with fresh stracciatella-burrata. For a dish with so few ingredients, it packs a very flavorful punch. The wideness of the bucatini allows the folds to fill with the cheeses, and the pasta so large with a fork and knife to get a little bit of everything in each mouthful. It is $14 on the lunch menu and while it might not be meant for sharing, we had ours split in two. (The photo below is a half-portion.)
Bucatini Cacio e Pepe at Sud Italia. Photo by Phaedra Cook.

Staying with pasta, the Strozzapretti con Ragu di Manzo is a standout. Described as a “non-traditionally cooked choking the priest pasta“, this short rib ragout is intensely rich and very flavorful. The pasta is actually cooked in the sauce with the short ribs, ensuring that it absorbs the full flavor of the ragout. Served with fresh Parmesan cheese, this hearty dish will satisfy both meat and pasta lovers and is on the dinner menu for $17.

Back on the lighter side is the Zuppa di Mare n Cartoccio. Brought to the table still steaming inside the bag it was prepared in, this dish is served table-side, then poured directly into the bowl.  The clear, savory fish broth pulls flavors from the Atlantic sea bass, black mussels, fingerling potatoes and leccino olives from the simmering process. This dish can be eaten as a soup with mouthfuls of fresh seafood or you can save the broth for later to soak up with fresh bread. It is on the dinner menu for $32.

Scott has always taken a very hands-on approach to everything at Sud Italia from the menu to the decor. With Ferrarese on board, we are excited to see and taste what comes next.

Sud Italia is located at 2347 University Boulevard and open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, dinner from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays, and from 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. Brunch is served on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. They are closed on Sundays.

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