December 2007 Issue
December's Featured Restaurant
Jill A. Duling
Stacks of multicolored appetizer plates decorate each table at Poco Piatti, which opened in November 2006 in Levis Commons, an open-air shopping complex in Perrysburg. “Poco Piatti” is Italian for “small plates,” so most everything on the menu is served appetizer-style.
Merging Old World charm and urban-chic decor, and complete with a wood-burning oven, Poco Piatti serves up Mediterranean fare, drawing inspiration from Italy, Spain, Greece and the Middle East. Labib Hajjar, chief chef and owner of The Beirut in Toledo, has set the standard for Lebanese and Middle Eastern cuisine in northwest Ohio since the 1970s. He began serving small-plate dishes at the original Poco Piatti (also in Toledo) in 2002, after noticing that many customers would order numerous side dishes and share. His son, Elias, runs the Levis Commons location, creating the recipes and supervising two chefs.
|Spicy Thai shrimp lasagna and marinated grilled baby lamb chops are specialties at Poco Piatti
|Elias Hajjar creates the menus at Poco Piatti.
Our server recommended that my friend and I try four or five small dishes, set to arrive at our table at intervals. We selected a worldly mix: Thai shrimp “lasagna” — shrimp in a spicy Thai chili sauce layered on crisp wontons; Ara-Yes Halabi — lamb-stuffed pita bread, served with hummus; a fresh mozzarella, basil and sliced tomato pizza; and paella — a mixture of clams, shrimp, chicken and saffron-infused rice.
While waiting, we sipped glasses of Poco’s signature sangria, which my friend declared to be some of the best he had ever tasted — “a lush blend of dry and sweet.”
At nearby tables, servers lit dishes on fire and shouted “Ohpa!” We wondered whether we should have ordered the Saganaki Kasseri, a flaming Greek cheese and Poco Piatti tradition. Next time, we decided, and proceeded to fill up on the flavors of the Mediterranean, leaving just enough room to sample a divine chocolate creme brulee, delightfully crunchy on top and silky smooth inside.
Small appetites, big appetites, vegetarians and meat-lovers alike will delight in the numerous dining options and spirited atmosphere that Poco Piatti offers, especially after a day spent shopping.
Poco Piatti 3155 Chappel Dr., Perrysburg, 419/931-0281. www.pocopiatti.com. Mon.–Thur. 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m.; Fri.–Sat. 11:30–a.m.–11 p.m.; Sun. 4–9 p.m. Small plates $2.95–$9.95. Entrees $10.95–$14.95. CR 3