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Monday, April 4, 2016

Osteria Vecchio Piemonte

     I came here once before, but I was in such a hurry to get somewhere else, I didn't allow myself to go into my blogging state of mind. I could've dismissed it, but there was something about the seafood lasagna I inhaled that kept urging me to come back. So glad I did.
     The minuscule Osteria in Miami hides between a barber shop and a small nail salon in a short strip mall you wouldn't notice unless you were looking for it. This little package is wrapped in butcher paper, you could say, but when you remove the plain brown cover, an unexpected and lovely gift appears.
    
     The servers speak Italian, which is always delightful for me, and you are greeted with Italian effusion, like friends that wouldn't start a party until your arrival. The seating area is unassuming but immaculate. As soon as you're settled, a small plate with amuse-bouche bruschetta and a basket of Italian bread squares descend on the table as the server offers wine. Daylin's Rocca Bella Negroamaro Puglia was an unlikely pairing for her fish entree, but she relished it, so it's all good. I abstained this evening.
     Of all my gastronomy sidekicks, I have to say DJ is the most enthusiastic. All I have to say is "I'm working tonight" (meaning I'll be blogging about this meal), and her already healthy curiosity for food becomes deliciously scientific. I knew I could count on an appetizer and at least one dessert, but when the server informed us about the evening's app special, the Tavola di Formaggio, we were both giddy. DJ made an executive decision and ordered that and her beloved Rollatini di Melanzane, mozzarella-stuffed eggplant rolls.
 
     By the way, you should know that I wouldn't want to live in a world without cheese. That said, the little table of cheese that arrived represents for me a microcosm of all that is good and noble in food. Thin wedges of Gorgonzola, rosemary Pecorino and Ricotta Salata sat daintily on this block courted by orange marmalade, apple slices and caramelized walnuts. I could've played in that sandbox all night. The flavor combinations seemed endless, and every one delectable. The eggplant rolls were subtle and silky, but they couldn't distract me for too long from my cheesy adventure.
     Then we got serious. I don't often indulge in a restaurant's specials because I like to sample their regular fare, and perhaps find something in their menu so consistently good that it comes to define the place for me. This time, however, the specials appeared to be deliberately complex and intriguing, so I caved. DJ ordered the Pacific Corvina with the champagne Parmesan risotto. The fish was pan-seared in a lemon and wine herb sauce, and while it had body, it was flaky and light, like a kinder, gentler Chilean sea bass.
      My entree was the Brasato (braised beef) in a rosemary and red wine reduction with fresh polenta. The red wine reduction was everything in this dish. It gave the tender beef a rich and piquant flavor, and bathed the already sweet polenta in provocative saltiness.
     DJ and I like to think we are the creators of the game "Musical Desserts". We order as many as we think we can handle and we rotate them after a couple of bites. Tonight, we had only enough left in us to share the Lemon Mascarpone Cake. We studied our options carefully, and I think we made the right choice. Sweet and tart balanced each other perfectly, and the mascarpone made the moist cake almost as creamy as mousse.
     I can sleep easy now. My hurried first visit left me unsatisfied, the same way I feel with an unfinished crossword puzzle. Although a little pricey, this is as close to my ideal Italian dining experience as I've found anywhere but in Italy. I expected nothing less from a DJ recommendation. Tutto magnifico!

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12 comments:

  1. The fish looks amazing. Italian food is simply amazing.

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    1. Wonderful fish- meaty and light at the same time. Thanks for reading, Ann.

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  2. That cheese board looks absolutely marvelous

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    1. It was heavenly, Vy. Thanks for stopping by.

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    1. I don't know your name, but you have been officially adopted. Thanks for reading.

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  4. Cheese plate gorgeous! Orange marmalade and gorgonzola :) What else is needed for happiness

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    1. Brought me to giggles with every bite. Thanks for visiting, Klauss!

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  5. Sounds amazing. I love the cheese board!

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    1. Fun with cheese is the best type of fun at the table. Thanks, Sarah!

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  6. Sounds like you had a really great time and experience! What more can you ask for! Looks great!

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    1. Good food is a universal pleasure in life. Thanks for reading.

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