Chef Michele Forgione in his Azzuri jacket, at his new restaurant: Osteria Venti
It is quite a special event when sharing the moment someone’s effort and talent transforms a dream into reality. It was opening night at Osteria Venti last Friday, and as soon as I set foot in the place, I could feel the energy riding high. The chef Michele Forgione and his team-mates were hard at work in the open-concept kitchen, so concentrated they didn’t even notice the cameras pointing at them.
Takeshi Horinoue preparing fresh home-made pasta
I was looking forward to this supper because Chef Michele does everything home-made, bread, grissini, salumi and pasta included. It is a lot to take on, but knowing the passion he has for Italian rustic cuisine, I knew he could pull it off.
And so he did. First came the bread, a fresh and light focaccia, crispy yet soft, with a perfect texture and a pinch of salt. The grissinis were crisp but not as dry as the commercial ones served in most Italian restaurants (even in Italy!). I would go back just for the bread…
Osteria Venti menu reminds me so much of Italy, with it’s crostini, antipasti, primi piatti, secondi and contorni sections…At first it was difficult to choose with so many great options in front of me, but fortunately I was accompanied that night by 5 other foodies that were more than willing to share. The menu offers a choice of full or half-size portions, handy when you are facing a menu with 4 sections before you get to dessert...
The Baccala Mantecato crostini was my favourite crostini, a cod fish topping worth every mouth full. Then came the home-made salumi, which I usually don’t eat much of (too fatty for me), but the delicate taste of the mortadella had me going for seconds…
The Pallote Marchovecchio, veal meat balls, are a must. Tender, juicy, strong flavors of tomatoes and parmesan are what I would call THE Italian classic comfort food. If you need to put some warmth in your day, order the Pallote!
But if it is summer you are looking for, then I would suggest the Insalata di polipo, the octopus salad, with its tender octopus perfectly cooked, and seasoned with fennel and capers that refreshes your tastebuds.
Ready for more? I was. Especially because the pasta was next to be served. For me, this was the real taste-test of the evening. You see, I grew up in Italy, in Rome. I ate pasta every single day; so pasta doesn’t hold any secret for me. Or so I thought…
Chef Michele Forgione impressed me. With all the controlled chaos of opening night, he still managed to serve incredible fresh pasta that knocked my socks off. I fell in love with his Agnelotti di piselli, fresh ravioli style pasta with an intense tasting pea filling, balanced with homemade sausage topping and pecorino cheese. Now that’s what I want from an Italian restaurant: Pasta I cannot find at the supermarket. Pasta that I cannot order at every Italian food-chain. Don’t give me another bland Alfredo sauce! Finally my plight has been heard and answered!! Thank you. Now I’m hoping that come springtime, nice artichoke pasta will be served? It can’t hurt to ask… ; )
Agnelotti di piselli
For secondi, we all had the Porchetta, piglet from the renowned St-Canut farm. It was again, amazing: Crispy and crunchy on the outside, with a mouth-watering thin layer of fat beneath it, just enough to expend the sweet and smoky flavors of the piglet. It was served with a poached pear. It all went fabulously well with the Rosa Nero d’Avola 2005 wine from Sicily. That was a memorable moment.
Finally it was dessert time! I don’t know how we managed to still have room for it…but we did and order all the dessert except for fruit and biscotti. The lemon semifreddo was good but a little too creamy and sweet for me.
The Tiramisu was exceptionally good. I was looking forward to it since Chef Michele had whispered his family recipe in my ear… All I can say is that he doesn’t blend in beaten egg whites but stir the egg yolks for a very long time until it fluffs up. The texture of his Tiramisu is simply divine, silky and smooth like no other! He also has a secret ingredient…that will remain secret for the time-being!
Tiramisu della mamma, almost a piece of art
We also devoured the bomboloni, served with the real Italian Nutella.
Hot bomboloni with Italian Nutella
If you are looking for a fun night out, in a relaxed atmosphere, where you can chat and laugh with your friends while eating delicious fresh quality Italian food…there is no better place in Montreal then Osteria Venti.
From left to right: A satisfied and happy team Takeshi, Ryan, Paulo and Chef Michele.
372 St-Paul West, Old Montreal
514 284 0445
Lunch (starting April 26th)
Tuesday to Friday: 11:30am to 2:30pm
Tuesday to Wednesday: 5:30pm to 10:00pm
Thursday to Saturday: 5:30pm to 11:00pm
And here, Venti's official Facebook page
PS: 3 of the 5 other foodies with me that night have blogs, check them out!
Mayssam of Will Travel for Food
Marcella of Eatalian Girl
Sandro of The Hungry Italian