Ecco Brings Mediterranean Home Cooking to Overton Park

The cheese plate at Ecco on Overton Park is a pretty dish served with crusty bread, seasonal berries, and broccoli rabe.

Justin Fox Burks

The best compliment I can pay a restaurant is to try to duplicate a dish in my own kitchen, which is how I spent a Sunday after tasting the orange-glazed Berkshire pork chop at Ecco on Overton Park. Succulent and manly, the three-inch chop hugs white-wine risotto on one side and apple-onion chutney on the other, turning each satisfying forkful into a trio of memorable flavors.

Created by Chef Armando Gagliano, the dish exemplifies the kind of Mediterranean cooking he grew up eating, thanks to his mom, Sabine Bachmann, who owns and operates Ecco along with Fratelli’s, the lunchtime cafe at the Memphis Botanic Garden.

Bachmann’s new restaurant extends her family’s penchant for fresh and simple ingredients. For Ecco’s pretty cheese plate, Chef Gagliano sprinkles raspberries and blackberries around olives, homemade tapenade, and four wedges of imported cheese. For Tuscan bean salad (a dish headed for my annual top-10 list), he combines northern beans, sage, sliced red onion, and crusty tidbits of pancetta tossed with lemon vinaigrette. For house-made pasta, he serves linguini with kale pesto and porcini ravioli fattened up with brown butter and freshly grated Parmesan. And for dessert? Try a ramekin of panna cotta garnished with a single plump strawberry and a lazy river of mango puree.

Open since early May, a disappointment or two on the dinner menu — the spinach ricotta gnocchi, for instance — doesn’t wilt my enthusiasm for Ecco’s promise. Located in a 1928 storefront on one of the prettiest streets in Memphis, the restaurant’s charming personality is as friendly as its food. On my first visit, I chatted with people at three different tables, and this joie de vivre is exactly what Bachmann wants. “In Italy, food is about people getting together around a meal and having fun. I think that kind of eating is a wonderful thing.”

1585 Overton Park (901-410-8200) $$


Owner Sabine Bachmann and Chef Armando Gagliano are creating good food and a friendly, upbeat ambience at Ecco on Overton Park.


Entrees at Ecco include Chicken Legs with Marinated Lemon and Olives served with parsnip puree and quinoa.



Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

Maui Brick Oven: Germantown Gets a Gluten-Free Place of Its Own

Along with pizza, Maui serves salads, finger foods, and grain bowls. And it’s all good.
2015.03.10 06:05 PM

Yippie Hippie Granola: My New Favorite Breakfast

2012.04.18 06:34 AM

Memphis Street Cafe Featured Tonight on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives

2012.08.06 03:09 PM
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Stories

Midtown’s Ecco Serves Stylish, Delicious, and Affordable Food for Saturday Brunch

Sweet and savory crepes, crispy herb potatoes, cocktails, and coffee: What’s not to love?
2015.03.31 09:23 PM

Here’s Jennifer Chandler’s Easy and Delicious Recipe for Pesto Pasta Salad

It’s time to make pesto pasta salad to welcome the start of spring.
2015.03.27 08:28 PM

Rizzo’s Diner Settles Into Its New Home on South Main

Chef Michael Patrick mixes new dishes with favorites from first restaurant down the street.
2015.03.20 01:32 PM

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags