Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Osteria 166

In the past few months Osteria 166 has pervaded my life.  First, it became my parent's favorite place to eat resulting in numerous "meet us for a drink!" texts, which I happily accepted.  (Osteria carries Arrowhead Pinot, a draw for my two favorite oenophiles.)  Well, a drink turns into drinks and drinks turns into dinner and I think now between all of us, we've probably consumed the majority of the menu... in multiple.
Then, last weekend we attended the first Nickel City Chef competition of the season matching Adam Goetz - Craving versus, you guessed it, Jeff Cooke - Osteria 166.  The secret ingredient was carrots.  I wish we could have tasted these because that gnocchi is making my mouth water, but it's fun watching the chefs cook and seeing how they incorporate a simple veggie into such complex dishes.

Cooke: carrot gnocchi,
lamb pancetta,
sage-carrot cream
Goetz: carrot agnolotti, 
spinach brown butter pesto, 
house smoked bacon, 
carrot apple ginger broth

Cooke: carrot jus
braised short rib,
butter roasted carrot
Goetz: carrot stuffed lamb,
 carrot spaetzel, carrot pearls, 
chanterelles, carrot cream

Cooke: carrot studded fudge,
peanut butter, carrot cream
Goetz: carrot eclair, 
pea whipped cream, 
basil mint oil

On top of that, Osteria applied to the Taste of Buffalo this year.  My parents, not surprisingly, are their restaurant contact and I tagged along to the tasting meal with them.  Jeff came over to present what we'd be eating, which was nice.  I really love when the table is visited by the chef or owner of a restaurant.  They don't know me from Adam and I think it makes a really personal touch.

So with all that, it might seem like I'm on Osteria-Overload, but I'm not.  Each time I go, I am more impressed with the food they're putting out.  My experience has actually been better each time I've been back.  I'm not sure how long that progress can be sustained, but I mean, I'm willing to find out...


Osteria, that's oh-stir-ee-ya, is downtown on the corner of Franklin and Mohawk right across from the Convention Center.  There is no parking lot but so far I haven't had a problem finding a spot on the street.

I would like to be friends with the person who decorated the dining room.  They have a few really cool pieces on the walls that I want in my home.  (If they ever go missing, I never said that last comment.)  The bar is long, but always full and there is a table in the bar area built out of the wood from a bowling alley that Nick the owner's parents owned.  A cute touch.

You're served bread before dinner.  For anyone who knows me, you know warm, fresh bread makes my toes curl.  Is there anything better?!  Osteria's bread is made in house.  It's dense and spongy and served with oil.  They change it up sometimes and one time it was a little bit spicy, maybe cayenne on the crust (or maybe not?), and it was incredible.

At our most recent visit, we started with the four items Osteria will serve at the Taste and then moved on to a few more things for dinner.

Pasta Bolognese

Porchetta Sandwich and Woppy Joe Sandwich

Shaved Ice with Limoncello

Fire Roasted Beet Carpaccio Salad with Arugula and Goat Cheese

House-made Burrata with Basil and Tomato

Blueberry Veal Sausage

A few other things on the menu that have impressed me but aren't pictured:
  • Potted Pig - pork confit, bread, mustard 
  • Fresh Mussel Stew - you have the option of spicy tomato sauce or garlic butter and herb, we ask for both.  Yum!
  • Carne Flat Iron Pizza - pancetta, sausage, prosciutto, mozzarella, sunday sauce.  This pizza is so full of meat, you won't be disappointed.
  • Meatball - get one for the side of any meal.
  • Chicken Lasagna - three cheeses, chicken filets, tomatoes and eggplant in a parmigiano sauce
  • Sausage and Campanelle - sausage, rapini, garlic, tomato, cream, parmesan

Last thing: Towards the end of the night we watched a group of people doing something weird with a ski at the end of the bar.  Our server told us that it was Osteria Ski Club.  I'm sure you can guess that this wasn't a ski club in the typical sense but before your mind starts cooking up options for what I mean by 'weird with a ski', let me show you.  It was sensational.

Shot-ski!  Bottoms up!


  1. I've had their Chicken Lasagna -- more than once! Yum yum....

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