On the corner of 12th Street and 1st Avenue, you’ll find a restaurant with a beautiful aesthetic, wrap-around glass panels and a rustic wood door. Inside is just as beautiful, and they’re serving delicious Northern Italian food here at East 12th Osteria in the East Village.
Everything here is fresh and made to order. You really feel like you’re a part of a true dining experience and not just out for a meal. The whole menu looked amazing, and while it was a little tough to decide, I feel the ordering we did do, was right on point. Before the meal, they bring out freshly baked breads (thin, crisp breadsticks, rosemary flat crisps, and a mini herb roll). These were all amazing and delicious. I especially loved the little rolls, which were warm, pillowy, and herby with hints of oregano.
Then, you’re served a generously sized amuse bouche that could practically constitute for a small appetizer. I was served a Beefsteak Tomato Gazpacho. It was divine. If I could sum it up in one word, it would be fresh. They don’t complicate this dish, just some olive oil, and simple seasoning of a little salt and pepper, and topped with mozzarella, it was delicious and refreshing.
Then, as an appetizer, we got the Involtini di Melanzane, Provola Affumicata e Basilico (Eggplant Rolls filled with Smoked Provola Cheese, Tomato Confit, Basil Oil). Holy damn. This was so wonderful. There’s a distinct smokiness to the dish that almost gives you the illusion that you’re having meat, but the dish is totally vegetarian. The eggplant is soft and creamy, and wrapped around this rich, smokey Provola cheese.
For my entree, I ordered Branzino di Lenza (Line-Caught Branzino, Baby Vegetables). I really loved this dish too. The fish is tender and juicy, served with a crispy, flavorful skin on top. The baby vegetables were perfectly cooked and lightly dressed in a really nice lemon-butter sauce.
And, we really went in and got dessert too. I had the Fondente al Cioccolato (Chocolate Fondant, Hazelnut Cream, Raspberries) served with a pistachio ice cream. Another perfect dish that really wrapped the meal up beautifully. The cake is light, and then out pours the warm, gooey, lava like hazelnut creme. The flavors really go so great together when mixing the warm chocolaty cake with the cool, creamy ice cream and a little sweet tartness from the raspberry puree.
Name: East 12th Osteria
Location: 197 First Avenue, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Definitely. The experience was great, the food is exceptional and the atmosphere is just lovely.
Would I recommend it? I mean, I think all of the above speaks for itself.