What to order at Osteria?
I'll be back in Philly next weekend for the Eagles home opener, and finally getting to check out Osteria on Friday night. It opened after I moved from the area, so don't know what those MUST HAVE menu items are. Also, what's the appropriate size order for two adults? Two apps, two pastas, share an entree? Enough, not enough?
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated...
I haven't been since the winter, but a number of the current menu items are familiar to me. My recommendations: the octapus, cotechino and porchetta for apps, the lombarda for pizza, the chicken liver rigatoni for pasta and the semolina budino for dessert. All of these dishes blew me away, while some others--the antipasti platter (too salty) and the francoboli (also too salty) and roast lamb (again, too salty)--didn't.
The question of order size is a good one. Because the cooking tends to pile on the butter and pork fat and protein, it's easy to get stuffed. Your sever may well urge you to go the full monte with an antipasto, primo, and secondo per person, but this is advisable only if you've got a sizable appetite. Otherwise, something more like 2 apps, shared pasta, shared entree might be more like it, with a pizza substitutable for an app. I'm sure you'd be in good hands with any of the entrees, which are pretty generously portioned, but mine have never been as memorable as items from other categories because I'm stuffed by the time the entree arrives. The semoline budino, though--killer.
a couple weeks ago they were very kind and i got to taste 4 antipasti, 4 primi, 2ish secondi and 4 dolci.
the highlights of the antipasti by far were the cotechino, salumi (not unique but very well done), and veal tongue. i've heard a lot about the octopus but i had the tinto version earlier and felt that was much better (charred crunchy bits, good texture, nice spice on plate) because the edges were rather soft and the potato too lemon. i'm a big fan of offal so perhaps that's why it happened this way but that cotechino is out of this world in texture and flavour (just enough fat, good chunkiness, nice cinnamon or clove? hint).
for the primi i was a huge fan of the chantrelle and bone marrow ravioli, pork neck cannelloni, and the chicken liver rigatoni. nicely done pasta, especially the rigatoni but it was the fillings that really stood out. the chanterelles were strong and well complimented with marrow, the chicken liver very rich but well balanced and the pork neck was just perfection from the almost fluffy soft textured filling with the creamy but thin bechamel (cheese would have been too much) and the roasted yet fresh taste of the tomatos. i was least impressed with the burrata mezza luna just because i like fresh burrata so much better and felt that it really lost that lovely texture in this preparation.
for the primi i was given the rabbit and (i think) the pork milanese with pork skin and potatoes cooked with the pork. both were uniquely (to me) spiced but excellent. the blends were flawless and didn't really have one spice/herb shine over another but created a beautiful blanket of flavour. they were both obviously different and the only thing i could distinctly pick out was a bit of fennel with the pork. i should note that i'm not entirely sure it was the milanese, i'm pretty sure they described it as a long roasted pork which milanese isn't but i thought they kept to the menu that evening. both were also perfectly textured, not dry at all and very impressive in their simplicity.
the only dessert that really stood out to me was the polenta budino though it took a while to get over the polenta factor for some reason. i really liked the olive oil semi freddo filling for the cannoli though and was impressed with the quality of their pastry for some fig filled item.
this turned out more like a review, but i just thought telling you why i liked an item might be helpful. i will have to struggle the next time i'm there to pick between all the items i enjoyed but my tops of the bunch would be the cotechino, cannolli/rigatoni, long cooked pork, and the budino.
some items were a bit too salty (the charcuterie meat items) but a bit of bread and water fixes that up and i almost expect it of housemade charcuterie to get a good cure.