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March 6, 2008

Osteria Via Stato

by gastronomicbypass

Location – 620 N. State (State and Ontario)

www.osteriaviastato.com

In one word – Suprising

Food – Given its touristy location, my hopes weren’t high for this place.  But, I was pleasantly surprised.  You get traditional Italian fare with excellent service, what more could you ask for?  All in all, I was satisfied with the food.  I started with the baby argula salad.  I thought it was a bit too salty, but luckily they kept the water flowing at my table.  Then I moved to the butternut squash ravioli.  I enjoyed it, but I was hoping the roasted sage on top would be slightly crispier (but that’s just my preference).  My eating partner started with their speciality cheese.  That went down fast, so I guess she liked it.  Her entree was the penne pasta dish, which she dug.  We ended the evening with the poached pear dessert.  This was a relatively light dessert served with a shortbread cookie and a scoop of gelato.  A couple of notes – At the front of the restaurant is Pizzeria via Stato, which is the pizzeria part of the place.  It’s a more casual and cheaper option if you want it.  Also, Osteria has a filling prix fixe menu.  For $40, you get all the food you could ask for.  If you’re a big eater, you might want to go this route.

Drink – Like its neighbor across the street, Osteria serves wine in quartinos (glasses and bottles are available too), which is both responsible and economical.  Since it was a Wednesday, we chose this more mature option.  We told our server that my eating partner loved reislings, so he brought out a comparable wine which we enjoyed very much.

Service – I really appreciate good service and tha,t is what we got at Osteria.  And, I love it when a server’s recommendations are actually good (a rarity from my experience).  He won on his recommendations for wine, cheese and dessert.  That equals excellent tip.  He was cute, too!

Scene – The inside of the place is covered with brick and wood, making the place feel relatively homey.  We went on a Wednesday, so the restaurant was quiet and intimate.  I think the vibe would be completely different on a weekend. 

Dress – I wore jeans because that’s what I do.  We were surrounded by other groups who chose to dress up slightly more, I think they were coming from work.  I think jeans, khakis and dresses all work for this place.  You’re trying too hard if you come here in a suit.

Cost – The total cost was about $85 for two.  This included salad, cheese, two entrees, dessert and wine.  All in all not bad.  Here’s where we got our price saver, I joined the Lettuce Entertain You Frequent Diner program and have accrued more than my fair share of points (which is very easy to do in Chicago).  So we used my $25 gift certificate, knocking our total meal to $60 for two.  Not bad, eh? 

If you like, try…Quartino, La Madia, A Mano

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