Ella’s Wood Burning Oven is the kind of restaurant about which one may be reluctant to rave. Too much praise may make the place so popular that the wait time for a table may go up…but I’ll take my chances.
Last Friday night my wife, Ann, and I had a dinner date with another couple, Kenny and Joanne. Joanne suggested Ella’s, which is in East Wareham, which Ann and I rapidly agreed to: were psyched to try something new. Joanne had already cased the joint, as she had been there once before with friend, so a reservation was made for 7:30 P.M. After a glass of wine at their house we headed for Wareham, which is about a 20-minute drive from New Bedford.
After arriving on time we were seated immediately! Finally-a place where a reservation actually worked! We were shown to our table in the rear of the dining room, near the bar. The decor was tasteful and unpretentious, which made it easy for us to get comfortable before our meal.
Our waitress was punctual and very knowledgeable. She listed the wine and food specials before happily answering our questions- which were many. We ordered a couple of bottles of Rodney Strong Merlot, a favorite of Kenny’s. It was silky- a hearty, gulping wine.
For an appetizer we split the fried calamari with hot cherry peppers and marinara sauce, which was fried to perfection. It was crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, not overdone and rubbery. The plate was cleared within minutes.
For dinner I ordered the grilled shrimp with chourizo, chick peas, spinach and smoked paprika aioli. I added a side of (Are you kidding me?) Parmesan & truffle french fries. Ann had the risotto with Florida rock shrimp, asparagus, mascarpone, and lemon. Kenny had the braised beef short ribs with horseradish & bacon mashed potatoes. Joanne had the pan-roasted salmon with fingerling potatoes, cauliflower sprouts, pancetta and caper mustard cream.
My dish was superb: the chorizo, spinach and chick peas complimented the grilled shrimp perfectly, and it was gone in a few minutes. I placed the fries in the middle of the table and we all shared- they were crazy good. I tried a little food from each person’s dish, and we all agreed that the food was incredible. The risotto was especially delicious.
Dessert? Why not? Apple fritters and slices of cheesecake were brought over to join the coffees and espressos already on our table. The fritters were remarkable- I’d go to Ella’s again just to have them!
Ella’s executive chef, Marc Swierkowski, is also the owner. He was formerly executive chef at the Crane Brook Restaurant & Tea Room in Carver, MA. This guy creates beautiful dishes, which is why I highly recommend Ella’s. Not including the wine, the check came to about $90, which is pretty reasonable for a such an outstanding meal.