[Photo: Rémy Thurston]
Ken Vedrinski's highly-anticipated Italian-influenced seafood restaurant Coda del Pesce is slated to soft open this weekend. Much has been made about the waterfront location, and an another chance to take in Vedrinski's famed pastas. But there is more. Here are five under-the-radar facts about Coda del Pesce:
1. The dessert menu will be heavy on the frozen offerings. Each day, he hopes to serve 11 different flavors of house-made gelato and sorbetto. Yes, that's daily.
2. When downtown's 'Cesca shuttered Vedrinski bought up tons of wine from their cellar. "They had an amazing wine list, particularly the reds," he said, mentioning some Super Tuscans and Brunellos. "They're all collector's wines," which will now be sold at the IOP restaurant.
3. Said bottles will be on a separate list for the "aficionados and the curious." There will be no set prices for these selections, and anyone who wants to buy one will have to place an offer with their server, who will then run the number by Vedrinski himself.
"I used to do it at Sienna [on Daniel Island]," he said. "It creates a lot of fun." Not to mention an opportunity: Catch him in the right mood and a lowball offer might be accepted. Those who aren't interested in negotiating for a vintage can order off of his standard, all-Italian wine menu.
4. There will be a dish on the menu highlighting two things Vedrinski is known for: handmade pasta and crudo. "We dice beautiful tuna and then we put it on top of the hot pasta. You're almost eating sushi on pasta. When I do it at Lucca, people go crazy for it." It's also topped with heirloom tomatoes and Calabrese chiles. He expects it to be the signature plate.
5. The inspiration for Coda del Pesce is straight from Italy. Vedrinski points to a restaurant on the Adriatic Sea, Clandestino ("same meaning...it's virtually impossible to find"), as an influence for his new place. "It's this blue colored contemporary-looking shack. You put your toes right in the sand, and the food is served beautifully."
He calls it "one of the greatest meals I've ever eaten," and is drawn to the idea of being on the water, but "still doing something amazing." And then he added, "I'm not going out there to do a cute restaurant on the beach."