after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Osteria: More Than Pizza

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t says: We loved our visit to Vetri – everything was superb, from the moment we walked in to the moment we walked out.  That said, we wished for a similar quality of food, but for less expensive dishes, like pastas and pizzas, as g and I are not yet bawlers.  Then we heard of Osteria, a second eatery by Vetri that promised just that: delicious pasta and pizzas.  So, when an out-of-town friend came to visit, we took her to Osteria (actually, she treated us, which was very kind of her).

1/2010, Tuesday Dinner, Party of 3.  Despite an 8:30pm reservation, we had to wait ~20 minutes.  Normally waits don’t bother me, but the place just didn’t really seem that “packed” (and open tables were in plain view), so I just didn’t know the cause for the wait.  Fortunately there were seats at the bar so took the opportunity to relax and get reacquainted.  As we made chit-chat and ordered some of their mixed drinks (I had an espresso martini – it was ok), we looked around and took in the space … there was a lot of it!  I guess I would have never guessed that a place with rustic foods could occupy such a large venue – both by square footage and by height – then again, it’s a little out-of-the-way, so there’s probably a location-space trade-off.

We were seated at the table, and, after perusing a menu of very appetizing-sounding dishes, we opted for … surprise … some pizzas and pasta.  We placed our order with our slightly awkward server and waited with excitement, enjoying the bread and oil they had provided.  The octopus pizza and the margherita pizza (gotta try the classic) were both delicious with perfectly-thin thin crusts.  The octopus was still tender, and the margherita, despite being so basic, sung tomato and basil.  Our friend’s side of kale was a nice complement to the pizzas.  I, on the other hand, had the potato gnocchi in a mushroom sauce with piave vecchio.  I was flabbergasted by the texture – it was so soft and airy, but not mushy – perhaps a little more dense than the gnocchi at vetri, but the lightest potato gnocchi I have ever had (I got the spinach gnocchi with the brown butter at vetri).  And the sauce was perfect – mushroom flavor without overpowering the other herbs and cheese. I found myself trying desperately to slow down sending the gnocchi to my mouth – they were so good.  I will confess, however, that I wished there were more on the plate for $16 …

Desserts on the other hand were hit-and-miss.  We ordered the chestnut crepes, but found that there was just too much honey for the chestnut flavor to handle.  The polenta budino with hazlenuts was spot-on; it was a new dessert to me, and one I hope to try out at other places, too (if anyone else serves it).

In my opinion, the pizza was very good – I look forward to trying out the other combinations on the menu.  However, the possibility that the other pastas on the menu could be at least as half as good alone warrants a second visit.  Now if only they were BYO …

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Written by afterdinnersneeze

23 February 2010 at 4:39pm

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