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Vetri's Osteria


Vadouvan
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Pizza Lombarda

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because, well, it's very hard to eat here without starting with one of these...

Pulpo

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The octopus here is even more tender and delicate than the version on the pulpo pizza, and the lemony dressing adds an attractive highlight. I don't know why, but potato is a great partner with octopus, so I'm happy to find cubes of it here.

Burrata

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The freshest, lightest, creamiest piece of cheese ever. Just get it.

Gnocchi Sardi

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Sorry, I'd mis-identified this in an earlier post as Gnocchi "Secco" which I think is a name you might find similar pasta sold under in a bag... Anyway, it's Sardi, which is to say wheat-based, if I understand it correctly. Really nice and light and spring-like, thanks to the peas.

Fusilli with Favas and mint

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OK, the gnocchi got beat out for springiness by this one! The tender favas are terrific, and the light taste of mint creeps up on you, making for a very fresh, tingly feel. Love it.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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The new menu screams spring: ramps, green garlic, mint, peas, fava beans, lamb. It made me feel all warm and happy inside even though it was maybe 40 degrees last night.

Vadouvan, if you were waiting for some burrata action, you should go, like... now! The stuff we had from Claudio's with the olive oil tasting was good, but this was WAY better.

Everybody else (Philadining, rae, I believe David McDuff, etc.) seems to have loved the gnocchi secco, but I much preferred the fusilli, maybe because I missed the taste of mint all winter. I will be making something similar at home as soon as I find the time to shuck some fava beans :smile:

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The new menu screams spring: ramps, green garlic, mint, peas, fava beans, lamb. It made me feel all warm and happy inside even though it was maybe 40 degrees last night.

Fiddleheads were on the menu today as well...

__Jason

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Hi all, long-time lurker and first time poster...my keyboard is trembling...

I have been assigned to Phila for one year for work, and am living in Center City but also commuting back and forth to NC. I am having a blast eating my way through the city; however, it looks as though I will run out of time before I run out of restaurants! Thanks for your great advice and discussions.

My SO and I went to Osteria last Thursday evening. We got off to a somewhat shaky start after being seated under a stereo speaker, with music blasting. Even after they turned it down, it was too loud (why do restaurants insist on ruining a great atmosphere with loud, inappropriate music?). So we moved to a table right next to the prosciutto slicer -- what an excellent location! We were the recipients of two plates of light, tender "ham" (samples from the slicers) and probably could have gotten more. The waiters had no problems throwing us a few scraps as they sliced for others.

We weren't starving (a mistake on our part!) so we decided to focus on first and second courses, our first was the Lombardo pizza. I had to have it -- have never had an egg on a pie. Sausage and egg is always good, and it really worked for us, we enjoyed wiping up the egg yolk with the crusts.

Instead of mains, we shared two appetizers, the octopus with potato and chive and the robiolo francobolli. Of the two, we liked the pasta best. The octopus was just <okay.> A little too chewy for me (sidenote: had octopus at Matyson a few weeks ago, it was the best I've ever had, so so tender) but tasty. The pasta was good, but a very small plate, and by then we were wishing we'd ordered more food!

So we both had dessert. The polenta budino was to die for. Wish I had some now for breakfast. The polenta is cooked with cream and sugar until it's super smooth, there's no grittiness to it at all. Yum. We also shared the chocolate flan, it was good but not as good as the polenta.

For drinks, I had a glass of Trebbiano d'Abruzzo. I would have had a second glass of wine had somebody come to the table to ask me if I wanted one. Service was very average -- once the place got busy we were pretty much ignored, with one exception -- the service folks were way too fast in trying to take our plates. A couple of times we had to tell them not to remove plates, which still had very tasty bits of this and that to finish.

Overall, we enjoyed the evening, the restaurant has a very "buzzy" feel to it, lots of energy, and next time we'll definitely arrive with a better appetite so we can do the menu justice.

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Welcome NCetr, and nice first post. Be sure to stop back often. The times I've been to Osteria I've gotten the prosciutto/arugala/fontina pizza (which I think is excellent) cause I'm not a fan of egg, but that Lombardo pizza gets so much run on this board that I think I have no choice but to get it the next time I go.

I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer...

Homer Simpson

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quick q: if i stop in there tonight at like, a little before 7, are me and the mrs gonna be able to eat at the bar, or is it going to be insanely annoyingly crowded?

basically i don't have a res, don't feel like making one, and figured since it was early maybe we'd swing by up there. but if it's still packed and going to be a pain in the ass, i'll go another time when i've planned ahead a little more.

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quick q: if i stop in there tonight at like, a little before 7, are me and the mrs gonna be able to eat at the bar, or is it going to be insanely annoyingly crowded? 

basically i don't have a res, don't feel like making one, and figured since it was early maybe we'd swing by up there.  but if it's still packed and going to be a pain in the ass, i'll go another time when i've planned ahead a little more.

My girlfriend and I have walked in on two different Saturdays at about 6 without a res and were propmtly seated in front of the kitchen. The place was about half-full each time. I'm guessing if you shoot for 6:30 you shouldn't have too much of a problem.

I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer...

Homer Simpson

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I discovered that one of my frequent dining companions hadn't made it to Osteria yet, so, you know, I kind-of had to go...

Pizza with clams, mussels and ramps.

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I'm liking their pizzas more and more as time goes by, I don't know whether it's the oven settling in, or the chefs fine-tuning recipes and techniques, or what, but I just feel like they're getting better and better. And this is a great topping for a pizza too, I don't now how much longer they'll be able to offer those ramps that give a perfect garlicky undercurrent to the tender seafood, so go get one of these pizzas, like, now.

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Mozzarella Carozza

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Creamy mozzarella and even creamier bread in a crunchy crust, what's not to like? Yet... we didn't actually love these. The cheesey interior was lovely, but the fried surface had an odd texture. I think they were "correctly" done, we just weren't digging them, although applying a smear of the saucy roasted tomatoes that came with it made it much more balanced.

Salumi: Prosciutto, Porchetta, Testa, Salami

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Awesome, as always...

Lasagne with Taleggio and Asparagus

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This was a special for the night, although we were told that it shows up on the lunch menu frequently too. It was absolutely delicious, if a little on the rich side! I don't know if that was butter or just the taleggio melting oily goodness out the edges, but it was pretty slippery, in a rather delightful way! The snappy asparagus pulled it back from the edge of too dense, and we could almost pretend that were were being healthy by getting some vegetables...

Slow-roasted Pork Leg with Favas

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This was another special of the night, with remarkably tender slices of pork, infused with a strong herbal rub, served over tender fava beans. I thought this was amazing.

Halibut with Bottarga

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This might have been the winner of the night, the moist, mild fish amped-up by the salty bottarga, brightened by tender, sweet roasted fennel. Perfect.

Had several really nice wines: a few glasses and lots of tastes of other things being poured. A glass of that Bardolino Rosato was a nice starter (and they have another nice Rosato by the glass too, and another coming on soon, all perfect for the summer... ) Also had a nice bright Verdicchio that matched nicely with the clam pizza, although we tasted a splash of a Kerner (Abbazia di Novacella) that was even better... They were also pouring a biodynamic Barbaresco that was really tasty (Colle del Venti) probably a bit too heavy for what we were eating, but I didn't care, it was so delicious, I had to have a glass! But the revelation of the night was a Copertino Riserva, a gentle, yet complex, full-bodied red that went great with the Halibut. And at $8 a glass, a bargain too... I think there was more...we were there for a while...

Anyway, great meal, WAY too much food for two people, but hey... you only live once...

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Slow-roasted Pork Leg with Favas

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This was another special of the night, with remarkably tender slices of pork, infused with a strong herbal rub, served over tender fava beans. I thought this was amazing.

they had something similar the night we went there last week -- a pork shoulder, roasted overnight then grilled. it was very tasty, tender, a little smoky but kind of overpriced at $32. i mean, it's just pork shoulder! five or six little slices, with like 10 fava beans.

(note that i'm not trying to start that debate again -- other than that i thought the prices weren't out of line at all)

we had those little bitty robiola ravioli with the mushrooms in the butter sauce. fantastically rich, unbelievably tender. awesome.

and that grilled octopus. i'm not ready to put it above dmitri's or ansill's yet, but it's right alongside. i really have to learn to make octopus. it just can't be that hard.

i liked the pizza a lot, but i don't know that i'm as totally enamored as everyone else is. the wood-burning oven pizza i've loved in the past (cf. two amy's in DC, or that place in rome that's totally famous for it) has more spring in the crust, so the crust is bigger and poofier and rounder, a little chewy along with the char. it might just be a matter of spreading the toppings not quite so close to the edge, i don't know. btw did you have a hard time chewing through the clam and mussel shells, phil?

i also agree with the earlier comments about the service -- we had about five different people bringing us our dinner and wine and whatnot, which is a little weird in that you don't know who to turn to for what at any given point.

but we loved it, and would go back in a second. i don't know that we can actually afford to go as often as i'd like, but it's the kind of place where i'm gonna hit it up as often as possible. really nice.

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You know, I didn't even notice the price on the pork special, but I suspect that it was the same as yours, or thereabouts, because with the pasta special, etc, the final tab got, ahem, up there...

I don't want to start that debate again either, but I have more than once been kind of surprised at some of the prices, yet perfectly comfortable with most of them. I think it's primarily the secondi that seem a little out of scale sometimes.

re Octopus - I'm with you, the one I had recently was right up there with the best in town, actually significantly better than the latest one I had at Dimitri's. Other reports posted here said it was a little chewy, but not mine...

I've almost always sat at the bar, I just like it there, and one generally has one bartender to deal with, so I can't comment on the roving gangs of servers. But incidentally, especially at slower times, service at the bar has been excellent. We got very friendly attentive service from both the bartender and the sommelier, which really added to the experience.

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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i liked the pizza a lot, but i don't know that i'm as totally enamored as everyone else is.  the wood-burning oven pizza i've loved in the past (cf. two amy's in DC, or that place in rome that's totally famous for it) has more spring in the crust, so the crust is bigger and poofier and rounder, a little chewy along with the char.  it might just be a matter of spreading the toppings not quite so close to the edge, i don't know.

It's been mentioned before, but I think the deal with Osteria's pizzas is: they're not Neapolitan style, they're more like Roman style (thinner, crispier crust). I haven't been to Two Amys, but I understand that it's pretty Neapolitan. That's not to say that one's better than the other; just saying.

I'm on board with the octopus-love, by the way. It really is a great dish. I would like to go back to Osteria before too long. Best to just make a reservation and go...

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It's been mentioned before, but I think the deal with Osteria's pizzas is: they're not Neapolitan style, they're more like Roman style (thinner, crispier crust).  I haven't been to Two Amys, but I understand that it's pretty Neapolitan.  That's not to say that one's better than the other; just saying.

you have a very good point there, and that's what i get for not reading back through the thread.

I'm on board with the octopus-love, by the way.  It really is a great dish.  I would like to go back to Osteria before too long.  Best to just make a reservation and go...

i think i'm gonna continue going kinda early and sitting at one of the bars. without a reservation. because i live on the edge.

re: the special, the mrs was all, THIRTY TWO BUCKS? and i pointed out that it's only like $5 more than most of the entrees, so really it's no big deal. it's not special if it doesn't cost a little more! but still, in my heart of hearts, it wasn't the price that stuck in my head as what we were paying that price for. it's pork shoulder, after all. and a few beans. i know favas are labor-intensive and all, but still.

edited to add:

I've almost always sat at the bar, I just like it there, and one generally has one bartender to deal with, so I can't comment on the roving gangs of servers.

we were sitting at the kitchen bar, which incidentally has great indirect light from the giant windows, for you photographer types. but that's what was so funny about it--you're sitting there and someone comes up behind you to hand you something. and then a few minutes later there's someone else giving you another glass of wine, that you had asked yet another person for, a few minutes before that.

Edited by mrbigjas (log)
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I had a great meal there the other night, but we had some of those strange service issues too. My general feeling on service is that if it's friendly, I can tolerate anything. The service at Osteria was incredibly friendly, so the weirdness didn't put a damper on the evening at all. It was just, well ... weird. The left hand didn't seem to know what the right hand was doing most of the time, and there were a lot more than two hands involved.

The only issue that started to really bug me was that one of the food runners, though eminently friendly, bumped the corner of my chair relatively hard every time he walked past us. Admittedly my chair was in something of a tight spot, but you would have thought he would have been watching out for me after the 3rd or 4th time, let alone the 14th or 15th.

The food was really excellent and incredibly springy, and the sommelier pointed us to a great wine choice. I'll just try to sit in a corner next time.

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Was there for a private party a week ago, and their hors d'oeuvres were solid, even above average, for a restaurant.

I wish I could remember more about the particular items.

I very vaguely recall a polenta cake as the base for one, prosciutto in another.

Not that I wasn't expecting that from Osteria, but it used to be that I never really saw good hors dóevures coming out of restaurant kitchens.

Perhaps the tasting menu popularity has changed that.

The servers definitely knew their place, and how to accomodate guests well.

Edited by herbacidal (log)

Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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I discovered that one of my frequent dining companions hadn't made it to Osteria yet, so, you know, I kind-of had to go...

Pizza with clams, mussels and ramps.

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This is the first pizza I've seen in North America that reminds me of the pizza in Italy. I had never seen tiny mussels and clams in their shells on a pizza before I visited Italy. It was wonderful. This pizza looks outstanding and I am going to eat one tomorrow night...if I can get in that is.

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Laban's review from this Sunday disclosed that his Osteria review would appear next week. Probably a good time to grab a reservation before it gets substantially harder.

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That's funny, I was there last night and the service was off then as well. Much different than my first visit, which was spectacular all around. The food was not quite as great, either, but still very good. The truffle & robiola pizza was kind of a one-note dish, the truffle overwhelmed it but my companions seemed to like it more than I did. The octopus antipasti "carpaccio style" was oversalted, which was mainly noticeable because it varied so much from bite to bite. The cotechino "ciaregha" was very good, but again I think the spice level was off, I think they use allspice or something in the creation of the cotechino and there was too much of it, after a bite or two I felt like I was eating some kind of meaty dessert. Luckily the pasta (gnocchi) was as fantastic as I remember. Unfortunately I had to skip dessert, but has anything there really topped the polenta budino yet?

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I've been three times and the service has been a problem on each visit. Rudeness was never an issue as they've always been very nice but the service ranged from inattentive and misdirected to sloppily cloying and misdirected.

With respect to the Laban thing, this may cost them a bell, assuming he had similar experiences.

Edited by Alcibiades (log)
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Lunch at Osteria today. Everything was delicious, especially that taleggio and asparagus lasagne. But the service left a lot wanting again. If the waitstaff wasn't as friendly as they are, the mistakes would start to be a major detractor.

I think the problem comes from what seems like an "every waiter is your waiter" system. One person would take our orders, and then another one would bring out the food/beverage . . . more often than not to the wrong table. Our pizza went a few tables to our left before those diners redirected it in our direction. A glass of wine disappeared for 10 minutes. Our double espressos were sent to another table, who then asked us if they were ours. They were then whisked away and, despite our saying we would take them as they were, a fresh pair were pulled. Nice idea, but now dessert is sitting on the table for 5 minutes while we wait. And when the new espressos showed up, they were singles (but still doubles on the bill, until I asked for it to be changed).

Again, I want to stress that everyone was extremely pleasant, and when mistakes occurred, they were contrite and quick to remedy them. It's not going to make me stop going. But it really is doing a disservice to the food and the experience as a whole. Honestly, if it wasn't for others in this thread making similar comments, I would have chalked up my experiences as flukes. It just seems silly to me that a place like Osteria can't take that last step towards excellence.

Edited by HD73 (log)
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How come none of you has pointed me to the Parma pizza?

Arugula and prosciutto piled on top of a crispy, cheesey crust: it's a pizza, it's a salad, it's a salumi platter... That, and a few pastas: life is good.

Sit at the back bar, service is always great back there, and if you behave, they'll hip you to something cool like an old-vine Barbera di Asti that just came on the list. Oh, and speaking of the list, watch the corners on that spiffy new folder, you might hurt somebody. It's not so safe in close quarters. Good thing they're never crowded!

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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How come none of you has pointed me to the Parma pizza?

Uh, hellooo... I always suspected it would be a good pizza, but it's hard to focus on proscuitto/arugula/parmesan (which I've had before at other places) when you've got ramps and clams and octopus and egg/bitto to think about.

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