Restaurant Review: Osteria 177
Aug 15, 2012 09:02PM ● Published by Anonymous
On my most recent visit, we first admired the elegant but casual décor, and then enjoyed exceptional service and attention. Dimitri, our server, went above and beyond the call of duty to assist us in choosing our menu. This particular visit was a family dinner, so we numbered seven at the table. In some ways, this makes it easier to critique a restaurant because the selection is wider. Osteria's Executive Chef and Owner Arturo Ottaviano continues to meticulously oversee the details of the operation, and this attention shows. The menu is well-defined and appetizing, and the staff is simply impeccable.
Instead of ordering plates to circle around the table, Dimitri suggested a sampler platter for a selection of appetizers. This worked wonderfully. While we waited, we sipped on the recommended bottle of Italian sparkling wine, Verdicchio Voile Blance ($35), a very light and dry sparkler that was very agreeable with our starters. These three starters were: the Caprese Salad ($12), a wonderful composition of organic tomatoes, fresh homemade mozzarella, olives, pickled baby peppers, drizzled with basil olive oil; Brasaola Trentino ($12), which had superb flavors in the carpaccio, sliced and topped with cold sautéed Portobello mushrooms, atop of fresh tossed arugula and finished with a touch of grated Parmesan cheese; and Calamari alla Griglia ($10), a whole tender calamari, marinated, and grilled, very tasty and different.
Next, we tried a delicious Potato Pancetta Soup ($8). It was very light, and the natural flavors came out perfectly, despite a lack of cream! We also had to share one of my favorite dishes, the Beef Carpaccio ($14), an aged Angus beef tenderloin, sliced paper-thin and topped with arugula. It was finished with shaved Parmesan, a true and authentic delight.
At this point, we were all raving about the start of the meal. It always gives me pleasure to educate youngsters on developing their palates, and as we waited for our second courses, they listened very attentively.
Two of my dining companions shared the delectable Totellacci ($22), a dish consisting of large tortellini-like pasta stuffed with seasoned ground veal and laced in a simple cream sauce. Two more friends shared the Tagliata di Manzo con Arugula ($32) because it was an extremely large dish. This 18-ounce Angus ribeye was one of the best dishes; perfectly cooked and seasoned as requested, and served with Arugula salad.
The Pappardelle Ragu de Cinghiale ($22) was a dish that I had never come across before, so my curiosity was at its highest. This dish made of fresh homemade pastas tossed in a wild boar meat sauce, which was excellent. I found the sauce smooth and rich in flavor. Another dining companion tried the Filetto di Manzo al Pepe Verde ($35), an eight-ounce filet mignon, seared to his liking and laced in a wonderful green peppercorn sauce. He enjoyed it to the last bite.
As for me, my roots brought me to a traditional dish that always conjures sweet memories of my Italian grandmother. The Gnocchi Casarecci ($18), a dish of homemade potato dumplings that were delicious, soft, and tasty. I chose to top it with a creamy gorgonzola cheese sauce, though you can opt for a fresh tomato sauce. For one last taste, we opted to share the Linguine all' Osteria 177 ($29), a magnificent mix of seafood and asparagus tossed with linguine in a light garlic-butter sauce. What a treat!
For dessert, the peach sorbet ($9) was refreshing and delicious, and the Berries with Gelato ($12) was incredible. I often wonder why simple desserts such as these don't come across a menu more often. The Zabaglione ($12) was authentic and fresh, accompanied with fresh raspberries, and did not miss a beat.
Osteria's wine list is heavily influenced by a coastal Italian style. There's a great variety of quality Italian wines, from Pino Biancos to Barolos, with many others in between. You could travel through Italy, just looking at the menu! However, as a personal opinion, I would let Dimitri or any other staff member recommend a choice to pair with dinner.
Osteria 177 has what it takes to be a landmark in Annapolis. Arturo understands the meaning of hosting, and he is surrounded by great staff, particularly his sous chef, Vincenzo Assante. It's all about great food and service when you dine out, and to Arturo, I say, "Well done, once again."
177 Main Street, Annapolis
Open daily for lunch and dinner
Wines by the glass: $7–45
Wine bottled: $37–400
Desserts priced daily.