Posted by: lisetta | July 28, 2007


Lisetta does not advocate pretentious Italian food, unless the food is exceptional. Vetri’s Osteria is a pretentious place, for sure, but the food merits attention. Our table enjoyed the following:

grilled octopus – with some cubed potatoes and uninspiring oil-drenched arugula
salumi plate – with mixed salume italiane
insalata tricolore – radicchio, endives and something green I can’t recall
pizza trentino – with grilled figs, mozzarella, speck and gorgonzola
agnello – redolent of rosemary, stuffed and served over polenta
rabbit – cooked with sage and served on polenta
chicken – eaten on the other side of the table; am not sure how it was prepared
pizza parma – with arugula, prosciutto di parma, mozzarella and fontina
olive oil gelato – buonissimo!
granita di melone with frutti di bosco and lavender syrup

By far the best dish at the table was the lamb, of which I had only one bite.
Osteria lamb
In my inner fantasy world, I’d like to belive that I could make this lamb at home, but given my scant recollection of the waiter’s description and my aversion to working with meat, I’ll just have to return to try it again. 🙂  I do recall the waiter revealing that its filling contained bread and milk, a classic Italian technique. Savoring this dish transported me right back into Carla’s dining room, where rosemary scented meats were often served. Thank you Mark Vetri!

By far the most disappointing dish at the table was the pizza parma.
Osteria pizza parma

Look at it. You can see the large swaths of burned crust under some more of that dreaded oil-drenched arugula. The parma was sliced so thin that it actually cooked on the hot pizza and had crispy edges. The fontina fused into the cracker thin crust, its sweet delicate taste charred beyond recognition. The tender mozarella survived the flames yet appeared in just three or four bites. BOO! (She writes, releasing the displeasure, fully aware of how neurotic she has become.)

For one of the most ubiquitous pizze in Italy, Vetri’s version sadly failed in all regards. The larger failure for the restaurant, IMO, was that the waitress who took the half-eaten plate away neither noticed nor asked about the charred remnants. Shame on them. This pizza should have never left the kitchen or our table without someone on the staff taking note.

For your viewing pleaure, here’s what a pizza with arugula and prosciutto *should* look like. This was served at a pizzeria in Rivoli (TO) called Opificio:

Opificio pizza 2

Note the SMALL bubbles of burnt crust, typical in Napoletan pizzas, and their contrast with the color of the uncharred crust. Note also the lightly wilted, undressed rughetta and the more thickly sliced prosciutto.

In my defense, I honestly *try* not to deconstruct the food I eat,  and do often choose NOT to express my thoughts out loud. This time, however, the charming Maitre’D Michael dismissed my opinion as folly, so here I am on the blogosphere with my photographic proof. LOL. I really did want to enjoy my pizza parma as much as the other dishes at the table, but sadly, it simply wasn’t made well. Pazienza!

The service at Osteria was otherwise refreshingly professional, and the atmosphere jovial. Not only did they play my all-time favorite Zucchero/Cheb Mami song, but also favorites from singer-songwriter Francesco De Gregori. 🙂 Overall, the trip to Osteria was worth the wait. Thank you, Mark Vetri, for bringing excitement back to Italian food cooked outside of my own apartment. I can’t wait to return – to eat something other than pizza, of course!



  1. i want to try the lamb dish

  2. […] face-to-face conversations with others: the thread last summer on prosciutto and arugula pizze (Osteria, Il Pizzaiolo, Birthday Present), Sacred Water, Existential Thoughts and Italian American […]

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