Jul 252014

Had to share some highlights and pics from a couple of delicious meals at one of my new favorite Houston restaurants: Coppa Osteria. It’s part of the burgeoning Clark Cooper Concepts mini-empire, which makes me feel slightly less guilty about going anywhere other than my home-away-from-home, aka Ibiza. (Sorry, Todd, you know I love you most of all!) Executive Chef Brandi Key puts out some terrific food here, from outstanding pizza to a range of tasty small plates and much more, and I’ve become slightly obsessed with a few menu items.

First, there are the crispy spiced chickpeas. A generous bowlful makes a compulsively-nibbly companion to one of the excellently-priced wines or perhaps something from the Negroni menu. Flecked with crispy-fried parsley, I don’t know what I did without these in my life!

Coppa Osteria Chickpeas

But the shrimp scampi is where it all started for me. I was at lunch here with a winemaker, and I know there were other things served, but I couldn’t get over how much I loved these shrimp. Loads of intense lemon garlic butter means you have plenty for sopping. Heavenly. (It’s not technically on the lunch menu, by the way, but I’ve found that they’ll still make it for you if you ask nicely!) It’s been forever since a shrimp dish made me this happy. I’m just saying…

Coppa Osteria Shrimp Scampi

Okay, so, the Caesar salad. I’m a sucker for a good Caesar. And by good, I mean gutsy. I have no use for those bland, anchovy-less whatevers that you get all too often. I want a Caesar salad to explode with flavor. I want garlic breath, okay? (Joe Cohen, I’m talking about you and your garlicky Caesar. When are you going to make that for me again, anyway?)

If you agree with the above, you’re gonna like Coppa Osteria’s Caesar. Lightly-grilled romaine may not be the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen, but it imparts an appealing smokiness to the salad that contrasts nicely with the generous tangle of tangy white anchovies. Flavorful dressing, ciabatta croutons. It’s good stuff.

Coppa Osteria Caesar Salad

Finally, their version of pizza bianca, a favorite of mine that I’ve written about before. The crust is a dream — pillowy and crispy and blistered in all the right places. With a four-cheese blend (mozzarella, fontina, parmesan, scamorza) topped with ricotta, castelventrano olives (love!) and oregano. I’ve been happily pairing this pizza with the Pio Cesare Gavi, which Coppa Osteria has on the list for a quite reasonable $36.

Coppa Osteria Pizza Bianca

Coppa Osteria
5210 Morningside
Houston TX 77005

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