Story by Barbara and Manos Angelakis
Photos by Manos Angelakis
57 West 10th Street
Greenwich Village, NYC
Osteria 57 is an Italian fish and vegetarian restaurant on West 10th Street, a location long-established in Greenwich Village for housing well-loved restaurants. When we lived in the area, “Whole Wheat ‘n Wild Berrys” was known for its healthy delicious food and later there was “Piadina Restaurant” for many years one of Greenwich Village’s adored Italian eateries. Now it’s Osteria 57’s chance to make its mark as a place to have an excellent meal in a city that has a plethora of exceptional eateries from all nations.
The fare is an interesting mixture of seasonal vegetables and herbs restructuring classic Italian and seafood dishes; no meat or chicken are served. For example, we started with Pane e Pomodoro over a base of croutons; it was a layered purée of fresh tomatoes, spices, capers and olive oil. That was followed by a spectacular fried Zucchini Blossom stuffed with soft cheese in a really crispy batter; then came the chef’s specialties of Artichoke salad with Pea purée, Mint and Parmesan flakes, followed by Grilled Peaches, Mizuna salad and Stracciatela.
We moved on to the secundo piato of Paccheri Pomodoro and Burrata (very large tube pasta in a San Marzano style tomato and basil sauce with a soft and very creamy white cow’s milk stracciatella) and finally a perfectly grilled Branzino fillet over buttery fennel and onion compote… just like Riccardo’s Grandmother used to make… delicious. The fish was very fresh and is flown in every morning from fisheries on the Greek islands, where the fish are cultured.
Owners Emanuele Nigro and Riccardo Orfino – who is the executive chef – are both from Milan. Before coming to the US, Riccardo worked as a chef at the 2 Michelin-starred “Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia”, one of Milan’s most beloved haute cuisine eateries. To complete the team, Alessio Morosin, also from a city near Milan, is the sommelier and his wine pairings for our dinner were spot-on-the-money with wines mostly from Northern Italy, including a lovely off-dry “Yes” Prosecco -- a non-vintage bottle from the Veneto; an aromatic white Pacher Hof from Alto Adige; a Nero d’Avola from Sicily (the only Southern Italian wine in our meal), and with dessert, which was a strawberry and rhubarb tart with vanilla gelato topped with shredded basil leaves, a lovely Brachetto from Piemonte’s Alba region.
Looking at the compact menu that changes with the season, we saw 5 starters, 5 appetizers, 6 pasta dishes and 4 fish dishes. Many of the dishes are gluten free, and a few can be made vegan. The wine list, on the back of the regular menu, shows a number of sparkling wines (including the above mentioned Prosecco); 5 white wines – including a Falanghina from Campania that I’m personally very fond of; 5 reds from Piemonte, Puglia, Tuscany, and the Veneto, 4 beers -2 Italian, 2 American; and coffee and tea. However, you could always ask Alessio what else he might have in his cellar. He will probably surprise you!
This is a restaurant well worth exploring; the dedication, enthusiasm, and talent of all connected to this establishment adds weight to the quality and innovation of the food. Being a confirmed and passionate carnivore I would normally not recommend a vegetarian or vegan place. But this is an exception I enjoyed very much; so try it, you might like it as well.
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