My friend Jane recently introduced me to a new restaurant (new to me anyway) and it was so good that I thought I’d share it with you. Osteria L’altro Sostegno is on Via Bravetta in the Aurelio zone–technically the suburbs although with a lot more high rise apartments and cars parked on sidewalks than I remember from the suburbs of my youth. Even though I must have passed it several thousand times back when I was driving to work, I’d never seen it before.
Set back from the road in an Italian interpretation of a strip mall, L’altro Sostegno is the proverbial clean well-lighted place. It’s painted with warm, rustic reds and yellows and there are big picture windows in front. The restaurant seems to be a neighborhood favorite and it’s easy to see why. The owner is from Calabria and his partner comes from Milan, hence a real mix of dishes from the north and south of Italy. The menu changes every day and strictly follows the seasons.
I started with a little baguette that had been stuffed with sausage, sliced thin, and set adrift in a lovely puddle of cheese fondue–Taleggio I believe.
My second course consisted of three lovely little pork medallions au jus with a homemade marmalade made from the famous red onions of Tropea. These onions are sweet and juicy and hail from a small area in Calabria called Capo Vaticano near the city of Tropea. They are a personal obsession. The vegetable was particularly delicious: bieta (this is chard but any slightly bitter green would do) with a dash of chili peppers, tiny seeded black olives, red currants, slivered almonds, olive oil and balsamic. I tried it the other night with mustard greens, dried cherries and pistachios and it was just as good.
Jane had a carpaccio of octopus and a pistachio encrusted sole, both of which were very good as well. Carpaccio–the meat version–was either invented at Harry’s Bar in Venice or the Savini Restaurant in Milan. It was created for a wealthy female customer whose doctor had advised her to only eat raw meat (huh????) and named after the artist whose paintings it resembled. Carpaccio’s paintings looked like raw meat? That’s a bit rough, don’t you think?
Dessert was pear sorbet and a wonderful pale chocolate semifreddo.
The bill was about 70 Euros, 20-30 Euros less than a similar spread might set you back in the center of town.
Osteria L’altro Sostegno, Via Di Bravetta 233. TEL: 0666165586
Open for Lunch and Dinner. Closed Monday. BONUS: Open in August! (But closed in July).