Prior to departing from Milan for the U.S. to come home for the holidays, I arbitrarily chose Osteria del Borgo Antico as the place to have my “last” meal. Centrally located in the city, the restaurant serves traditional staples in untraditional ways. While it didn’t knock my socks off, the locale was a pleasant place to enjoy a final dinner.
The meal began with complimentary prosecco, probably as a nod to the Christmas season. Naturally, I was not upset about the free bubbly. However, this varietal was a little sweet for my taste and would have been better after a meal rather than before.
In addition to the prosecco, the restaurant offered a small bruschetta, compliments of the chef. Topped with fresh tomato and herbs, the small plate wasn’t anything special, but nevertheless a nice pre-dinner bite.
Il Primo Piatto
I’m sad to report that I was very disappointed with my pasta course (Alessandro ordered the same). It sounded delicious in the menu description, but it simply didn’t execute. The dish was fresh pappardelle pasta with ground sausage, potatoes, and black truffle.
My favorite thing about this dish was the pasta itself – extremely well-cooked and with the perfect chew. The sausage, on the other hand, was neither spicy nor salty and left a lot to be desired. The boiled potatoes did nothing to enhance the plate. Lastly, the truffle (which I was most excited for) was used sparingly and didn’t afford extra flavor in any way, shape, or form.
While the quality of the ingredients was high, the dish lacked in flavor significantly. We had to douse our pasta in parmesan to compensate, a taboo with truffle.
I Secondi Piatti
I was much more satisfied with my second course, which was veal kidney over cream of broccoli and fennel. To be fair, I don’t actually know what was in the sauce, but a broccoli/fennel mix is my best guess.
Separately, the kidney and sauce were not exceptional. But when eaten together, they were a match made in heaven! The neutral flavors of the vegetable-based sauce were a perfect compliment to the potency of the kidney. A real delight. My one complaint was that the sauce was not piping hot, but that could have been an intention of the chef.
Alessandro ordered steak in gorgonzola sauce with grilled radicchio. His steak was well-cooked and the cheese sauce decadent but not overdone. The two were a nice pairing. I didn’t try the radicchio but he commented that it was “normal.” While his dish was quite good, it certainly wasn’t standout.
Perhaps the best thing we ate was the dessert – panna cotta al basilico. See here to learn more about what panna cotta is. This version was served in more of a pie format than the traditional gelatin. The buttery crust acted as a great foundation to the cream atop of it. The sweet cream was flavored with fresh basil, a delicious and refreshing palate cleanser. I’m not sure what exactly the sauce was made of, but it tasted to me like caramel and fig.
This panna cotta was everything I could want in a last course. It just sweet enough and had a pleasing combination of textures. Each element was flavorful in and of itself; when combined, they resulted in a fantastic dessert.
- Food is not exemplary but some menu offerings are memorable
- Food quality is high and portions are adequate
- Fair prices for what is offered