Before Peggi began controlling her cholesterol levels with diet we would frequent the many Italian spots in and around Rochester. At some point we we started keeping track of our meals and the experience on the pages of the Refrigerator. Readers submitted quite a few of their own opinions as well but we fell behind with the updates. There is a substantial backlog folder to post and I promise to get there soon. For now I thought I would prepare an entry here and move it to the Refrigerator column at a later date.
I had been drooling over the picture of the fried the Calamari from City newspaper’s review of the Osteria Restaurant on Culver Road. In fact we cut it out and have it on our counter. This place is the very last establishment on Culver Road before it turns to meet Lake Ontario. We were there at sunset last night and enjoyed a spectacular view. This place was Fiorivanti’s for a number of years, another Italian place of course, and thankfully they didn’t mess with the funky ambiance. The owner and manager of Osteria used be to be the owner and manager La Trattoria up on East Ridge Road but they have switched hats.
When this place was Fiorivanti’s they didn’t have a liquor license so we called ahead to find out if we could still bring our own bottle of wine. They said that would be fine but there would be a fifteen dollar corkage fee. It’s hard to come out ahead with that deal especially with the type of wine we buy. Fiorivanti’s charged only a dollar to uncork your bottle. Probably why they went under.
The obligatory Padra Pio donation box was on the counter as we entered and every table was full but one. Pretty good for a Wednesday night. We ordered the cheapest red wine on the menu and the Calamari dish we saw in the paper as an appetizer. Their bread and olive oil were delicious and the Calamari arrived in no time. It included peas, green and Calamata olives, garbanzo beans and Italian parsley. It was sensational! Almost as good as Mario’s. We could have made a meal of it. We decided to split the shrimp/pasta/sun-dried tomato/zucchini special that our waitress described but she told us there would be a five dollar “plate sharing charge”. Peggi tried arguing that the Calamari was her order and the pasta dish was my order and this confused the waitress. She went in the back for a second and came back to say, “Never mind”. That dish too was spectacular but there was enough oil left over for another dish.
Chef Giustino Toppi came out to greet us after our meal and we told him everything was delicious. How many times do you think he has heard that? He is old so you better get down here quick.