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Vetri's Osteria


Vadouvan
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I was there for lunch a couple weeks ago and enjoyed it: had the roasted veg apps and the pizza lombardo. Enjoyed both. But, quite honestly, I've had pizza its equal in both Phoenix (Bianco) and Sheboygan (Il Ritrovo). Yes, Sheboygan.

Tried to go back last Friday for lunch arriving at 1:25 p.m. But they wouldn't seat us: no lunch seating after 1:15, they said. Geesh!

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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  • 1 month later...

i stopped down for lunch at osteria yesterday, and had a dish of the spaghetti 'carbonara with parsley and mussels.' it tasted good, but was insanely oversauced. like, villa di roma style saucing. when i finished, there was a big ol' puddle of sauce in the bottom of the bowl.

i mean, i guess it's kinda crazy to expect lunch to be as consistent as the dinners i've had there, but still it costs enough that a mistake like that seems weird.

i still like it though. the place, the food in general.

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i scored a serving of polenta budino -- with a tiny candle in it -- because someone had whispered to the maitre d' that it was my birthday.

highlights? trentino pizza (mentioned upthread) is a marvel. the various bits of roast whole piglet set out over a plate -- if you can have it, you must, really.

lowlight: the baby lamb. just darn strange in taste and presentation.

otherwise: vegetable antipasto, parma pizza, octopus, all ok, great, fine.

wine-wise, a nice vermentino and a truly delicious tiefenbrunner castel turnhof (lagrein). all served alfresco, on a warm summer night.

suggestion: make the patio tables look more welcoming: they seemed harsh and metallic and improvised.

but as i said: budino with blackberry compote for my birthday, compliments of the house. squisito and much appreciated!

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  • 3 weeks later...

My wife and I went for our anniversary last night and had a great time. We have also been to Vetri and so I will make some comparisons.

When we first pull up, the neighborhood is not as bad as I had first thought. I had some concerns that the neighborhood was not great. I am not originally from Philly and never travel north on Broad. The street was well lit and well travelled.

The first impression from looking outside in is that the place is rather large. One is looking at the entire first floor of a condo building with the restaurant on either side of the main entrance to the building. The owners of the restaurant must have received quite a deal on rent. After walking around the space, to find the unmarked, and I am guessing unisex bathrooms, though from the outside they could be broom closets for all you know, there is a lot of floor space and what appears to be party rooms, which were not being used, but hopefully for the owners they will be. Unused space is money out the door.

The open kitchen is a nice feature, though the bar in front of the kitchen is a little too tall for anyone other than the bar patrons to enjoy the view. We were taken to our seats, back near the bar. We looked out the windows and noticed that there was a patio with outdoor seating. I love sitting outside, which I think the Philly area, and all surrounding areas are sadly lacking. There is nothing better than a nice night to sit outside, especially after sitting in an air conditioned office all day. The patio is huge, and there could certainly be more tables, but as it is set up now, the extra space is nice and allows some privacy. I am not a huge fan of the big metal tables and chairs, but they were not the end of the world. After taking a seat and getting used to the surroundings, I really felt like I was in Italy. The patio is bordered by a church on one side, and if anyone has been to Italy, there are churches everywhere, so seeing the nice stone work and the stainglass was very memorable. Sitting outside at Osteria, you hear a decent amount of street noise, groups of motorcycles whizzing by at high speed. Again, in Italy, if you sit outside, you would be hearing the sound of vepas and little fiats buzzing by, so no problem for me. Allpart of the atmosphere.

The menus were brought as well as the wine list. I have read the reviews here and elsewhere about service problems. I think the servers were attentive, but not too much so. I had to pour our wine a few times, but no big deal. When we went to Vetri, one of my biggest complaints was not the size of the wine list, but the prices. The list was very extensive, which made it all the more difficult to find a reasonably priced, read less than $75.00, bottle to select. The wine list at Osteria is very accessible, as it should be at an osteria, and I appreciate the manner in which it is orgaized, listing wines in increasing price. Though, if this were truly an osteria, the wine list would include wine by the carafe, which would be a nice option. The list did include some half bottles.

While I was perusing the wine list, my wife started reviewing the menu. She said that she was having a hard time selecting something as everything sounded so good. I had the same feeling once I had selected our wine. We decided to have one selection from each category on the menu: pizza, antipasti, primi and secondi. The pizza we selected was the Lombardo, which several on egullet have suggested. My first bite was a good one - a little egg, a little cotechino, some of the herby sauce and the slightly charred crust. The egg was perfectly runny such that you could sop up the juice with your crust. This was a good start. We could have eaten the entire pizza, but we decided to hold off as we anticipated some good things to come. I had some reservations about paying $17.00 for a boutique pizza, but it was very good.

For the next course we chose the special, which were sardines marinated in olive oil and served with cantelope and micro greens. The sardines were very flavorful, enough of the oily sardine flavor, combined with a spicy olive oil, and then the burst of the very melony cantelope. I am amazed that the cantalope was so flavorful given the late season. This was a nice light dish.

We next ordered the pork ravioli with black walnuts. From first appearances, we received a plate of brown meat sauce on a plate. But the flavors were very nice. The crunch and strong flavor of the black walnuts, the richness of the pork and the sauce, and the little baby ravioli. Again, splitting this dish the portion size was perfect and light. The only issue I have with this one is the plating and appearance. Flavors were very nice.

Finally, we had for our secondo - the rabbit casalinga. This was a nice dish of stewed rabbit with creamy polenta. I like flavorful reductions and this dish had a nice glaze from the stewing liquid. The rabbit was nicely cooked. And again, the portion was a nice size. If you are one who does not liek meat on bones, this dish is not for you. BUt for those of us who appreciate the flavor that bones lend to a dish, you will love it.

This was a special night out, so we decided on dessert. Normally, we would split something, but again we had a tough time making a decision. We finally chose the polenta budino with huckleberry and the mascarpone tart with fresh figs, balsamic and rosemary. Both were excellent. My wife tried the budino first and was savoring it. I tried a couple bites and was very impressed, it was again very light, but flavorfuly and creamy. The huckleberry added a nice cut to the creamy pudding. My wife actually saved the last bite of the pudding until after we had finished the tart, as she liked the flavor of the budino so much. The tart was excellent. The mascarpone was again very light and combined with the balsamic and the rosemary was terrific. The syrup on the plate had a nice slight hint of the rosemary. I really liked that aspect of the dessert.

A recurring theme above is that we were not stuffed, but were very comfortable. Most of the dishes were very light. I would suggest to anyone that goes to try what we did, as you have the opportunity to try the various dishes from each category.

Overall a very nice night and we will be heading back to try the many things on the menu that piqued our interest.

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  • 1 month later...

In case anyone is saddened by the definitive end to summer signaled by the recent cold snap, think of the upside: the candele with wild boar ragu is back!

Also (attn:Karen) a perfectly roasted half a duck, with concord grapes and cabbage. It's not a huge portion, but really excellently executed, just a hint of fatty richness remaining between the crisp skin and tender meat.

And a "Cotto" pizza, double-crusted, stuffed with house-cured ham, gruyere cheese and spinach. Gruyere?!?! Not sure what that cheese is doing there, but I don't care, it was delicious. It's a bit more like a thin calzone, or maybe a super crunchy crêpe, than a pizza, but labels are beside the point. It's good.

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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  • 1 month later...

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I wanted to add my Lomarda pizza to the thread here. I went to Osteria on Friday with a 5:30 reservation (couldn't snag a later one) for the first time. All I can say is Philly, you're lucky to have this place!

I was liking the ambience-warehouse meets earthtones and warm wood. The service was great, and a bit different from what I've experienced anywhere else. We had a main server, but there were many others bringing new plates and silver, dishes, clearing and re-folding napkins. It was a well choreographed dance which made the meal seemless.

The Lomarda pizza was simply the best (gourmet) pizza I've ever had. The crust, topping and egg were wonderful. I am anxious to finally try finally 2 Amy's in DC (I live just outside in No. Virginia) to compare.....

We split the perrenial lobster spaghetti special and loved it. I get the sense that there may be lobster spaghetti fatigue for those of you who frequent Osteria, but we truly enjoyed it. Lobster was perfectly cooked and a bit briny. Pasta was al dente. If anything, I was overwhelmed by the size of it, since we ordered another dish to follow.

The next dish was a baby pig special. Brined and braised, we had portions of shoulder, rib and loin. It was intensly flavored with fennel and very moist.

We finished with a cranberry hickory nut tart (claufoutti-like) with zabaglione gelato. Incredible.

Overall we were very impressed with all the in-house made meats, gelatos and pastas. Even as we left aroud 7pm, the place was humming like a well-oiled machhine.

We're looking forward to returning when next we come to Philly. There are seemingly endless ways to put together an amazing meal at Osteria.

Edited by monavano (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Osteria has become one of my wife's (and my) favorite restaurant in Philly and though we didn't have a reservation, we were able to grab a seat at the bar around 5:30pm on a Sat (tables were available too but filled up by 6:30pm).

We started with a Beer & Pizza - Chimay Ale Grand Reserve and Parma pizza. The Parma is sliced by Chef Michaud in the middle of the restaurant and is so good we lifted and enjoyed a few slices right off the pizza. The crust from the 700 degree oven is light, airy and crunchy.

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A special of Fennel rubbed spit roasted piglet was too tempting to pass up and was delicious with just the right amount of meat, fat and crackling. I could have eaten another one of these but was starting to get full.

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Hauntings thoughts of the Polenta Budino over the past few months had made my choice for dessert very easy. Paired it with a 2001 and 1998 Monbazillac which were delightful. The caramel and nutty notes of the amber colored 1998 went especially well with the candied hazelnuts.

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At first glance, my wife skipped past the "Chocolate Flan" on the menu, until the staff recommended it and explained that it was more of a chocolate cake with a molten center than a typical flan. She was glad we ordered this and the pistachio gelato it was paired with would rival the one from Capogiro.

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I am also happy to report that my refrigerator is smiling with glee while acting as a steward for the Candele w/Wild Boar Bolognese I got in a to-go container for dinner tonight.

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I don't have photos to add, and not sure what one more bit of praise will mean, but stopped by Osteria on a whim a few weeks back. I was nervous that I had built it up so much in my mind that it couldn't live up to the expectations. But those fears vanished with the first bite of our Margherita pie -- the explosion of basil and the mozz, I quickly forgot that I'd had my heart set on a Lombarda (my gf hates sausage pizza).

Next, at the recommendation of you guys, had to get the candele with boar ragu, which was a pasta unlike I'd ever tasted. I could eat this every day. I finished with a special of sausage and lentils. This was very good, simple, and hearty. Perfect for a cold night. On the plate, it wasn't impressive, but halfway through I decided if I ate another bite I'd explode. The gf had the lobster in some sort of marinara and she raved about it. Of all foods not to like, I've just never cared for lobster, so I can't pass judgement.

Really looking forward to going back. I was sheepish about calling on a Wednesday night, figuring they'd laugh at me trying to make a same-night reservation. But I guess the crowds have quieted down, especially during Christmas shopping season. Got there around 8, and were seated in the "outdoor" area, which we enjoyed. Next time I'd like to sit in the main dining room, but being away from the hustle and bustle on our first visit let us concentrate on the menu and the food.

If there was one thing I'd mention as a negative, was a real stench on the walk to the men's room. I know you get closer to their kitchen than you're used to, but it wasn't pleasant. Has anyone else noticed this? I worked at a Ponderosa Steakhous for a week when I was 16 (no one who worked there ever ate the food after seeing how nasty the kitchen was) and it brought me back to those days. Maybe that's more my buried issues than theirs, but thought I'd toss it out there.

Anyway, I'm dying to get back. I can close my eyes and taste that candele. Supposed to have lunch with the boss this week at the Palm. Maybe I should convince him to head up to Osteria instead!

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Non-food-related Osteria question -- is it pretty easy to pick up a cab in this area after dinner? I'm venturing out with my visiting mother-in-law this evening and am not familiar with the neighborhood at all. No matter how nice the dinner is I don't want to be standing around on a dark curb afterward, saying, "I'm sure there'll be one soon..." Know what I mean?

Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

Pop culture commentary at Intrepid Media

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Non-food-related Osteria question -- is it pretty easy to pick up a cab in this area after dinner? I'm venturing out with my visiting mother-in-law this evening and am not familiar with the neighborhood at all. No matter how nice the dinner is I don't want to be standing around on a dark curb afterward, saying, "I'm sure there'll be one soon..." Know what I mean?

We had them call a cab for us as we were getting our coats. Waited in the vestibule 5-10 minutes as expected before one pulled right up front for us.

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They'll definitely call you cab, just ask as you're getting ready to go, I've seen them do it many times. I think it's worth doing, rather than standing out on that stretch of Broad. It's not so scary, just not ideal making-mother-in-law-comfortable terrain.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Finally made it back after several attempts that seemed to get sidetracked somehow... had a few old faves and a few new items.

Lardo Pizza

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Seems impossible, but we didn't love this. Of course it wasn't terrible: some nice toasty pizza crust with lardo on it can't possibly be a bad thing. It seemed like it needed a little something - more rosemary? More Olive Oil? salt? something...

Snails wrapped in pancetta, over polenta didn't need anything. Tender, salty, bacony, fantastic.

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They do something scary with the polenta up there, in this dish in particular it was ridiculously rich and creamy, we couldn't help thinking of Robuchon's pommes purée...

Candele with boar bolgnese might just be the perfect winter dish.

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If they happen to be roasting a pig and offering it as a special, don't pause, just order it. I've missed the last plate of it more than once by dawdling. It's crispy, juicy, herby, oily, almost overwhelmingly delicious.

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We had a few other things, all of which were quite good. At the end of the meal we snacked on something I hadn't noticed before on the dessert menu, a plate of petit fours. gallery_23992_4247_89341.jpg

We were actually entirely too full to appreciate these, but I'd totally get this again as an accompaniment to an espresso, or after-dinner cordial. Maybe sometime that I haven't made a total pig of myself earlier in the meal.

Yeah, like that's going to happen...

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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I have no pictures to document our joyous first, and not last, time at Osteria on Saturday night. The evening began with a pleasant bus ride to St Stephen's, great smiles and service for a pre-Osteria dinner. And then off we went...into the space that is our new favorite in town. Looking back and also at philadinings pictures, i didn't think that the polenta was in fact polenta under the snails (which we had too). Glorious dish. We also had the wood grilled octopus, which has replaced our previous favorite (estia)...the lemon and arugula were great plate partners to this tender and perfectly salted octopus.

We too shared the candele with wild boar. But we also had the robiolla francobili - mini ravioli with chanterrelles....decadently divine.

My fella had the baby pig special - we agree that it was the best pork ever, tender, juicy, herby (i sound like a broken record after philadining). I had the roasted rabbit on polenta (which was was more polenta-y than that under the snails). The dark meat was splendid , the white meat off just a teensy bit (dry), and the crisped pancetta cubes on the plate brought me to tears. Great great night.

Oh we started with two great Makers Mark Manhattans, and then the very nice sommelier steared us to a Rosso DiAltimiso 2006 which we both found a lot of pleasure in (i am not tannin-y, the fella is, so this was a happy meeting place). I add also that we were in the "north room" the tiny little space towards the bathrooms ...it was quiet, and nice, we really like it there.

Edited by SugarJ (log)
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i didn't think that the polenta was in fact polenta under the snails (which we had too).

I'm willing to entertain the suggestion that that super-creamy stuff was not polenta... but if that's the case, any guesses about what it actually was? Farina? Although we compared it to mashed potatoes, it didn't quite seem like a root vegetable.

Whatever it was, it was awesome.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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i didn't think that the polenta was in fact polenta under the snails (which we had too).

I'm willing to entertain the suggestion that that super-creamy stuff was not polenta... but if that's the case, any guesses about what it actually was? Farina? Although we compared it to mashed potatoes, it didn't quite seem like a root vegetable.

Whatever it was, it was awesome.

i believe its a celery root pure under the snails

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Thanks, I could believe that.

We've previously accidentally ordered in such a way that we've ended up with polenta under almost everything, even dessert, so I think we just assume it's always polenta. It didn't taste like corn, but it didn't taste like a tuber either, it was just light and creamy and buttery.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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in my experience, which granted is only three or four times, only once did we have a reservation; the other times i've never had trouble getting a seat at the bar. and it was mostly happy hour time when we went, because we're on such an early schedule these days. so i'd tentatively say you should be fine, serpentine.

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