Friday, July 6, 2012

Osteria Cicchetti, Wilmington, NC

We were debating where to go for dinner Friday evening, we wanted to try someplace new, and we narrowed it down to two choices. One was the Kitchen, the renaissance of The Grand Union, and the other was Osteria Cicchetti in the same plaza, and both owned by the same people as Circa 1922, the Ash Aziz group.

We took a look at the menu of the Market and we walked down to Osteria. After looking over their menu we decided that it was the better choice for us that evening. We were more in the mood for Italian. There wasa twenty-five minute wait for a table inside, however we could be seated outside right away. The weather had cooled a bit so we took a table in front. 


We were brought menus and Clay stopped by and introduced himself as our waiter while he poured ice water and left a bottle of it. He answered a few questions and gave us time to pontificate on what we wanted. He also brought us the magnificent bread shown above. We decided to start off with the calamari appetizer at $9.00. It was large and not greasy at all, but it was a bit salty in taste. It came with a marinara sauce that was a bit watery and a mayo sauce with a hint of horseradish. Not bad, but the calamari at Circa was better.
Veal Saltimboca
Teresa decided on the eggplant Entree at $14.00 after we saw a waitress deliver one to a table near us. The portion was large and it was served on a bed of spaggetti. I asked Teresa how it was and she replied, "okay." I sampled and I agreed. It was okay, but nothing really special. I thought it could have used some more seasoning. 


I chose the Veal Satimboca at $17.50, one of my favorites. I've had this dish at over twenty restaurants and I have seen twenty different interpretations of it. What most of the variations are is in the sauce used. Here they used a red wine/balsamic vinegar reduction that would be better served with Osco Busco or another hearty meat. In a delicate veal dish (yes, I am aware that Osco usually uses veal shank) it tends to add to much acidity and overpowers the meat. I found it good, and I finished it, but a bit too much acidity and the flavor notes were overpowering. So much so that I wanted to brush my teeth after eating. Saltimboca means 'leaps to your mouth' and the dish should do just that. I have had many interpretations of this dish that I wanted to savor the flavor of that last bite as long as possible, but not so here.

The service was excellent. The food was good, not stellar. The atmosphere was okay outside, but it looked nice when I went in to use the very clean men's room. Prices were moderate. Would we go back? Yes. Would we rush back? No. I think Terrazzo Trattoria is better. 

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