Restaurants & Bars 11

Osteria I Nonni - MSP

greenidentity | Jan 1, 201008:09 PM

For New Years Eve, Mr. H and I decided to do a course meal again, since the last one we did on Thanksgiving (at Enjoy!) was a hit. This time, we really saved money and I gave Mr. H 3 suggestions and put it in his hands to surprise me. He chose Osteria I Nonni, as they had a choice of either a 4 course meal ($55 per person) or a 6 course. We chose the 4 course meal, and they had some great choices. I did not take pictures at this meal, so forigive me.

Upon entering Osteria I Nonni, I was a little uncomfortable. It's VERY white tablecloth. I'm not opposed to upscale dining, but this was really upscale. Everyone there was dressed really fancy, and the air of the place is very sophisticated. I felt pretty out of place. Regardless, we went to sit down.

We arrived a little late (at 10 pm) and I was not feeling the greatest. I was hoping to be out of there by 1130, in time to get to a New Years Eve event and ring in the new year. I thought an hour and a half would be plenty of time, even for a four course meal, so we settled in. We were offered ice or bottled water, and then waited about 10 minutes for our server to come.

The menu offers a few options for each course: the first being a salad, the second being a small pasta or meat plate, the third being a main course, and the last being dessert. All are offerings off thier regular menu. For my "asseggini", I chose:-

garden lettuces, honey crisp apple, gorgonzola dolce, pistachio, cider vinaigrette.

I don't remember what Mr. H ordered, but it was like a meatball, with breading on the outside, in a tomato sauce.

We waited probably around 10 minutes, and the food came. I must say, I was really disappointed in my salad. The vinagrette was so tart my mouth puckered, the greens were loose and the nuts were hard to handle and I had to put them on my fork by hand. There were about 3 thin apple slices that just kinda...sat there. The gorgonzola however, was in a chunk, allowing you to cut it with each bite, which was good. The size was perfect (small) but overall, I did not enjoy this.

Mr. H's dish however, was very good. The sauce was very tangy and tomatoey, and the meatballs were savory.

For our "secondi", I opted for the:
house-made gnocchetti “alla vaccinara” oxtail ragu, pecorino romano.

And Mr H:
linguettealla vongole manila clams, garlic, white wine.

We waited around 10-15 minutes for this 2nd course, which in my opinion is too long. I understand food takes time to cook, but in a course meal, timing is essential. When it finally came, I must say I enjoyed this a lot. The gnocchi were light, and not dense. I found myself wishing for a little more toothsome-ness. The sauce was very savory, and with a hint of nutmeg or cinnamon perhaps? The oxtail was like a mild roast beef, and very generous and flavorful. This dish came out piping hot, so I'm sure it was very fresh. Mr. H's dish was very salty, and suprisingly it was also very spicy. The linguine was al dente, but kind of "crisp" on one end of the bite I got, which was a turn off.

For our main course, I ordered:
chicken “saltimbocca” asparagus, lemon-caper butter

Mr. H got:
pan seared maine scallops grilled scallions, wild mushrooms, vermouth

This time around, we waited about 20 minutes, and it was already 11:15. I was getting very nervous and upset about the time it was taking. I realize that course meals take time, but a 4 course meal should not take over an hour to be cooked and executed. For one, the food settles in and you get full. By this time, I was very full. And anxious, I felt like I was forced to sit there and wait all this time. At Enjoy!, we had a 3 course meal that was timed well, and we ended up sitting and chatting for well over an hour after the food was gone. Because we WANTED to. See the difference? During this wait, a table near us was given new food by what I assumed to be an owner/manager. I'm not sure what happened, but something went wrong. Anyhow, our food came at around 11:20. I ate about 4 bites of my chicken and was too full to continue. What I did manage to eat was good. Not great. The "lemon caper" sauce did not taste of lemon - but the chicken was crisp on the outside and the proscioutto came through well. Overall, it was quite salty. I also ordered a Winter Bellini (prosecco with rumsoaked cranberry) which tasted strangely of cinnamon.

Mr. H Scallops came, and were cold in the middle. He had to send them back, and we waited 10 more minutes for them to come back. I will admit, the scallops when cooked correctly were the best thing I ate that night. Butter, creamy, and pure velvet. The sauce was earthy and mellow and overall it was a great dish.

We ordered our desserts and my remaining food to go. I ordered the cheesecake, and Adam ordered the budino cake. We were extremely full, and at this point I as not going to make it to my New Years Eve event. While we waited, the table near us was leaving, and the server informed them that due to the mistake, all their drinks were being comped. When our check came, we were offered nothing for being served cold scallops.

Overall, I was very disappointed. Maybe I'm not "sophisticated" or rich enough, but the food was very mediocore and the wait time was way too long. For me to spend that much money on a meal is quite a task, and I feel like I threw my money in the street. Admittedly, I was in a bad mood for not making it to the NYE countdown. I was eagar to leave, and got to my event at around 12:30 AM.

-Pretty interior - kind of rustic but sophisticated
-Scallops were very good

Not so greats:
-The wait time
-Being served cold scallops, having to wait more and then not being offered anything for it
-Atmosphere is a bit too uppity for me


I Nonni
981 sibley memorial hwy, Lilydale, MN 55118

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