DINE WRITE SOUTHERN ITALIAN CUISINE Scallops & Shrimp IT IS 7:30 IN THE EVENING, AND WE ARE SEATED BY THE WINDOW JUST AS THE SUN IS SETTING AT SUD ITALIA, A CHARMING ITALIAN RESTAURANT IN RICE VILLAGE. OUT FRONT, THE LARGE WOODEN PORCH, ILLUMINATED BY STRING LIGHTS, IS AT CAPACITY. INSIDE, THE MAIN DINING ROOM IS SOFTLY LIT BY WARM, DIFFUSE LIGHT – THE ENTIRE TABLEAU A LITTLE BIT FUZZY AND CHARMINGLY ROMANTIC. We’ve just been greeted at the door by SHANON SCOTT, the restaurant’s proprietor. He’s wearing an immaculately cut black suit over a starched white shirt open at the collar, a pressed handkerchief peeping out of his breast pocket, and though it’s a little formal for the Rice Village neighborhood crowd, it fits the kind the experience he’s trying to give his customers. “Welcome to my home,” he says with warm sincerity. “Relax. Enjoy. The table is yours for the evening.” 18 L O C A L | july 16 If you’ve never been to Sud Italia, be forewarned: The portions are generous. I didn’t know this when I ordered three appetizers, each large enough to feed four. There was the beautiful tower of an heirloom tomato and burrata salad – thick-cut rounds of tomato stacked upon each other with burrata in between. This was followed by one of the most gorgeous platings of octopus carpaccio I’d ever seen, a work of art made of paper-thin shavings of purple and white tentacles spread out in an almost paisley pattern. An Italian sausage appetizer in tomato sauce was too much, so we boxed most of it to go.