These house-made gnocchi (potato dumplings) are on the short menu at Odo, a smallish Tuckahoe restaurant dedicated to the cooking of Italy’s Abruzzo region. | Photo by Tiffany Keegan
Taking his love and knowledge of the Italian food of his ancestors and combining it with his restaurant-and-delicatessen background, Nickolas Odoardi opened Restaurant ODO in Tuckahoe in the fall of 2021, bringing an Abruzzo-centric restaurant to Westchester.
Odoardi launched his career in the food world in 2011, working at a family deli, where he says he “got the itch for cooking.” He landed an internship at famed Noma in Copenhagen and, when talking to his father about the foraging the restaurant did, learned his father did that, too, when he was growing up. “A light bulb went off, and I realized I should come back home and stay true to my own roots,” Odoardi says. He worked at Dobbs Ferry’s The Cookery and designed the menu at The Sandwich Spot in Valhalla. “Then, it was time for me to branch out and do my own thing.”
ODO was slated to open in the spring of 2020, but the pandemic and other factors delayed the opening of the snug, 39-seat premises. The delays gave him the opportunity to play not only with some menu items, such as curing his own coppa (like prosciutto) but also the decor of the restaurant. Odoardi describes working on the space as similar to building a dish. Adorning the rough-hewn white walls are such touches as a photo of the Mona Lisa (wearing a mask and surgical gloves) and a Via La Schiuma street sign bearing the nickname of Odoardi’s great-grandfather. “La Schiuma is the foam that rises to the top of beer, and it was a cheeky Italian way of saying my great-grandfather always rose to the top,” Odoardi says. The bar has copper accents and serves a focused selection of Italian wine (most from the Abruzzo region), beer, and spirits.
Odoardi says the restaurant’s menu features food that’s “regional, cultural, and delicious.” Abruzzo is in Southern Italy, with both the Adriatic coast and mountains influencing its cuisine. The menu is tightly curated; most everything is made in-house. There are such representative and don’t-miss items as scarpetta — house bread with an addictive sauce (a cream reduction with capers, bay leaves, anchovies, shallots, and garlic), speducc, or lamb on a stick served in a clay pot, and the signature gnocchi, perfectly fluffy pockets served with a flavorful pomodoro sauce. Simplicity at its best. Ask Odoardi, maître d’ Maria Alvarez, or your server for a culinary education about the menu and the Abruzzo region.
On Sunday nights, Odoardi brings the hominess of Abruzzo cooking and hospitality to customers through special events. There have been prix fixe Sunday dinners, and look out for collaborations with other chefs, stores that specialize in Abruzzo-centric food, and possibly his zia (“aunt”), Vincenza DiMarco.
72 Main St, Tuckahoe