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Osteria Gelsi Pizzoccheri: Serious? Silly?

Denis | Jun 12, 200809:24 AM

I went to Osteria Gelsi for the first time last week and saw the following on the menu:

"Pizzoccheri Al Frutti Di Bosco: short ribbons of home made whole wheat pasta, raspberry vodka, fresh porcini mushrooms, splash of tomato salsa, shallots and fresh sage."

I thought it sounded crazy enough that it wouldn't be on the menu without some concrete justification.

The dish arrived and immediately hit me with an aroma reminiscent of the breakfast cereals of my childhood. Froot Loops. Fruity Pebbles. Hanna Barbera figures floated through my mind.

And tasting it didn't really change this impression-except that pleasant chewiness of the pasta, the piquancy of the sauce and the black pepper I got ground on it, and the earthiness of the mushrooms balanced it. It was sweet, it was really weird, and it definitely was not for everyone. But every time I stopped eating and thought, "This is just too ridiculous," I found myself digging in for more shortly thereafter.

I wonder if anybody else has tried this. I could easily see someone being revolted by it and concluding that the restaurant was a disaster on this basis alone (despite the good rep it has here generally). I'm not even sure I entirely enjoyed the dish, and I can't really recommend it. But I do keep thinking about it, and I want to go back.

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