Sardinia for the first time...
Having been a fan of Osteria del Teatro for years, only visiting on special occasions so that it would keep its charm every time, you know the whole "oh my God I can't believe I forgot about how good that is" feeling, I recognize I was probably gonna be a tough critic for Sardinia. But, Frodnesor said he would try Osteria, so we tried his place. I quit my job yesterday so we were in a very good mood (yup one of those jobs).
We decided the interior decor was a little trendy for our taste, we prefer a more "homey" feel to a restaurant, so we sat outside. The setting was nice, and the waitress seemed nice enough. Soon we discovered she was terribly disorganized, which of course is a polite translation of slow. But we just pretended she was new and decided we'll just be understanding about her first night, and had a good time with it.
The thin and crispy bread arrived and it was good and the olive oil...well they got my interest at that point. We ordered our wine and Polpettine (veal meatballs with braised fennel). It was great. We loved the grandma-must-be-cooking-back-there feel to it. Then came our pastas. This is usually all we order our fist time at an Italian place. That tells us whether we should come back (I mean if they get THAT wrong....)The cockles were fresh and the pasta al dente but I have to say the sauce was not quite right. It was light and pleasant, but I would not order it again. The rabbit ragu was delicious IMO and the dish lighter than it looked which made me happy, means I can eat more of it. Then came the Tiramisu. I have to keep reminding myself that that was the name of that dessert, because it just tasted like a delicious strawberry cream, not Tiramisu at all. But as I said it was delicious, so next time I will be sure to ask for the strawberry mascarpone cream again ;-).
Did I like it more than Osteria? Absolutely not. Did I have enough dishes to judge entirely? Absolutely not. So we will be back hoping for more hits, to try the specials and whatever else you all think we must have of course :-) I was intrigued by all the antipasti, maybe I will make it a girls night out for antipasti and wine? Thanks Frod for the recommendation, we had a lovely time out on our Friday date.
We're Sardinia regulars and besides sometimes ignorant or sloppy service, the atmosphere, decor and food selection is really authentic and refreshing. The food is solid - we usually start with meat/cheese boards with Ripassa wine (deep, luscious red), then move onto braised quail and clams with giant couscous-type pasta - completely delicious. We've also had the rabbit and some pastas with lobster - really impressive.
I really wanted to try their pannacotta...but was too packed.
Do you do lunch there? If so, what's best?
I got to say that whole meat and cheese thing is kinda cool, but what is the point? One of the reasons I really enjoy going to restaurants (and am a hound of chow) is getting something I cannot easily produce in my own kitchen...deli meat and cheese could be prepared by a 9 year old! Or 7...maybe even 5 or 3! Yeah, it's good, and yeah no one else is really doing it (or maybe it's the new fad according to some right here on CH), but come on...Am I gonna go with Orichetti and Wild Boar Sausage and Broccoli Rappini for 14 bux or am I gonna go with Boars Head deli meat and cheese for 14? Even if it's some deli importation from the sardinia nation it's still friggin deli, no? 4getaboutit!!!
Granted, from a value stand point, you're probaly better with 14 bux worth of meat & cheese than you are with 14 bux worth of pasta, some sausage and broc, but the taste sensation definately leans ala Tower of Pisa toward the later IMHO.
Makes me want to go to the real deal...
I like their deli, cheese and veggie selection but usually get regular apps, main courses and desserts. You can look at the meat and cheese selection as no different than many antipasto apps served in just about every italian restaurant. The meats and cheeses are of great quality btw @ sardinia. Personally, I choose the veggies most of the time when I chose from that section of the menu.
Lunch was just changed so I need to eat there more to determine what is different. You can no longer have the dinner menu at lunch btw.
I find the lunch menu has better pastas than the dinner menu.
Here is what I found was good
1) Gnocci mozzerella, butter and salmon roe - If you like salmon roe (very salty btw) you will love this dish. Do not let the waiter put parmesan cheese on it though it will ruin it.
2) Fettucinne with guancale - this is probably the best carbonara type dish I ever had.
I strongly suspect the chopped veal pasta dish is very very good as well. Never had it with this particular pasta they are using now, but it used to be with garganelli which I had many times and it was great.
I like all three of these pastas very much and they are definitely in the class of the Orichetti which is my favorite pasta on the dinner menu. (Their lobster pasta is great as well but is a much higher maintenance dish because you have to shell the lobster so I don't get it as much).
Skirt steak - very good, I was actually surprised how good it was. The waiter told me that the person who actually prepared the dish was argentinian so it made a lot more sense.
I used to not like their sandwiches because the bread was hard and it was difficult to eat. They changed the bread so I am going to have to try the sandwiches again.
Desserts are the same for lunch and dinner. Every one of them is great with the exception of the strawberry tiramisu which I have not tried. My favorites are the Duo di Mousse and the Panna Cotta.
Haven't done lunch there, but wanted to offer a different take on your thoughts on their antipasti.
First, the salumi and cheeses are very high quality and somewhat exotic stuff. 2-year aged prosciutto, wild boar salami, etc. You're not finding this at the Publix deli. Though I'll admit you may find most of it at a high-end market like Epicure - it's not quite like my recent trip to San Francisco, where the new trend is for every restaurant to be curing their own meats in-house.
Second, it's just a nice way to start off a meal (or a nice light meal itself). I would add that the plates come accompanied with a lovely salad of bitter greens, slivered celery, fennel, olives, generously salted, which I really enjoy (and I'm not big on salad).
Third, I'd highly suggest you add into the equation their vegetable antipasti. The brussels sprouts w/ guanciale (jowl bacon), roasted beets w/ pancetta, roasted cippolini onions, are all delicious.
If it's all you're eating, I probably agree, go with a pasta for the same price. But as a nice starter to split - and remember, it is "antipasti" - the veg, cheese and/or salumi come highly recommended by me.
Had an early dinner here this evening and was a bit disapointed. Started with the clams and couscous, great!! Eggplant parm came out cold in the center, not a good begining for first timers. Main course was lamb shank, very good but also cold in the center and had to go back. I had the fish special, trout with tomato and veggies. I'm a fish lover but this was VERY fishy tasting with too much fat and too many bones. We will try it again but only order pasta the next time. Desert was strawberry tiramisu which was fair, and peach tart which came out as a slice of peach pie that looked and tasted like it came from publix. All in all not a great expierence for the first time. After reading all the rave reviews here we were disapointed.
Well I finally tried it 50 weeks after they opened! You all know how I like to give places a chance to work out their kinks...50 weeks certainly exceeds what one would consider a reasonable "time" to do just that. Obviously, this place has been running on all cylinders for quite some time now.
A very interesting menu indeed, exotic in fact. I will not partake in the comparisons between Osteria and Sardinia as I feel that would not be prudent or fair.
I took TP's advice and did the off hour entry...a very wise idea in deed! Thanks TP.
We too got the Veal Meatball app and they were solid, as was the sauce, delicious red gravy and I did enjoy the fennel.
The Orichietti and Wild Boar Sausage with Broccoli Rabe was devine! What a dish!!! The Macarrone and Meatballs with Asparagus were good too, although I would have liked to try that Lamb Ragu pasta instead.
Nice place, with some very interesting dishes, definately an original menu and unlike any Italian joint I know...with the exception of the underlying pastas of course.
Try the antipasti, it is fantastic. Also the Carasatu Bread with goat cheese and sardinian honey, I ate an entire order myself. The orecchiette with wild boar and rapini pesto was amazing, and if you like intense, farm-yard like tasting pork, get the suckling pig. Be warned though, it is a strong taste, very much unlike most people are used to.
I had the opposite opinion between Osteria and Sardinia. I felt that Osteria's flavors were not as tuned as my experience at Sardinia. I did not have any of the dishes that you had at Sardinia. At Osteria, we started with the burrata and cherry tomatoes, carpaccio, then split the shrimp pasta in the lobster sauce.