Madonna makes older people feel hip when they cop to liking her music. Granted the product she puts out is still quality stuff. Her albums sell, her music is good, but she’s for the older generation.
For the over 50 set of foodies and Philadelphia Society, Georges Perrier is their Madonna. His restaurants are still a great quality, but the man made his mark on Philadelphia when Jimmy Carter was in the White House and Frank Rizzo ran Philadelphia. That’s a long time ago.
Today, the limousine liberals who installed Michael Nutter as Mayor and the suburban McMansion owners who embrace culture by dining in the city have embraced their food star of today: Marc Vetri.
Hmm…a few years ago I would have called him their Britney Spears. But I can hardly see his parents staging an intervention with Doctor Phil.
Lacking a witty comparison with a hip starlet (feel free to comment on your own) I’ll tell you about my meal(s) at Vetri’s Osteria.
Osteria opened early last year as a followup to Vetri’s first restaurant bearing his own name. If Vetri is a private club, Osteria is its open-to-the-public cousin. The restaurant is bustling (loud sometimes) and has energy. It is the look and feel people go for in restaurants these days. Not my thing, but people love it and flock to them. Noise and activity = buzz.
The atmosphere being what it is, it does not detract or enhance the food. The food is excellent and stands on its own.
The trademark Vetri antipasti is there. Freshly shaved, homemade and home cured meats and vegetables you thought couldn’t taste better then usual, but come alive after receiving the Vetri treatment.
Pizzas, salads, entrees – all good. I sampled a lot of things there. A few stick out.
I had the Lancaster County chicken and the Rib Eye. Tried some of both. Very well done. Nothing fancy. This is hearty fare.
The Pizzas will all have you doing backflips. But be sure to try the Lombarda, with the egg on it. Different is better in this case.
While I don’t see it on the menu, he did something to brussel sprouts that made me eat them – something I’ve not done in decades. They were delicious. I will never eat them anywhere else because it wouldn’t be fair to the rest of the brussel sprouts in the world. It’s kind of like dating Cindy Crawford in her prime. Where do you go from there?
Above all else, what I remember more than anything else from my dinners there was dessert.
Nutella pizza. I first had Nutella in a crepe just outside the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. It was one of my few positive memories of Paris. The warm chocolate/hazelnut spread sandwiched between pizza dough is quite tasty.
I liked Osteria. I loved Vetri. Some day we’ll cover my meal there. But for the time being let an egg, brussel sprouts and Nutella be your guide and head down to North Broad Street. You’ll thank me.