That’s Italian!

Osteria Restaurant on Culver Road in Rochester, NY
Osteria Restaurant on Culver Road in Rochester, NY

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.


3 Replies to “That’s Italian!”

  1. My favorite calamari is sauteed with black beans (the Asian ones) at 2 Vine.

    Usually the splitting charge means they plate your portions in the kitchen on two plates, hence the charge. If you just eat off of each other’s portions they usually don’t charge.

  2. Calamari down at Fratelli’s in Lakeville is awesome. Also had some the other day at Perlo’s in E. Roch that was almost as good. I ordered the Braciole, which I hadn’t had in maybe 20 years, and it knocked me out. And the leftovers the next day were even better.

  3. That plate sharing charge seems to be a thing at that end of town. We were at Nick’s last weekend and they did just that, over a small-ish sized but wonderful plate of gnocchi. The waiter said never mind, but Nick saw what was happening and made the guy charge us. Just their way of trying to stay afloat? The 15 dollar corking fee is a sure bet they’re trying to sell their own wine. Just a rude way of making that happen!

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