Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Osteria Madama Do Re' II

So, we went back to Osteria Madama do re' because, as you can tell from the previous review, we dug the joint. This time, the culinary mission was clear: eat a bistecca fiorentina. Mission accomplished.

We sprung for the Chianina beef. Chianina is the largest, and one of the oldest, breeds of beef in the world. It is raised in the hills near Novafeltria, where Madama do re' is located. The steak, cut fresh from a side of beef and then grilled, came to the table thusly:

Unfortunately, the pictures don't do justice to the grandiosity of this steak. It was approximately two to two-and-a-half inches thick, and I won't venture a guess how long. The bone alone was weighty and massive. The steak itself was grilled to a bit less than medium rare. The center was heated through but not really cooked. While I usually prefer a steak medium rare, this level of cookedness (yes, I know cookedness is not a word; just play along) worked very well under the circumstances. Chianina beef tends to have less fat than other breeds, so undercooking ensures the steak will retain its juiciness. Also, there was something very satisfying about eating all levels of doneness (there, doneness is a real word), from completely cooked on the outside, to medium, medium rare, and essentially rare, all in one bite. The meat itself was substantial and soft, with a fresh, local flavor. The steak came garnished with rosemary, but there was nothing on it really. Salt was entirely unnecessary, as were rubs, sauces, pepper, etc. Ultimately, the point of this dish is to have a relationship with the meat, not something on the meat. And a relationship we had, and it was good.

I also broke one of my rules and ordered the mascarpone with frutti di bosco (fruits of the woods) and cioccolato. I had ordered the mascarpone before, and it was too good not to try again.
The light and silken mascarpone with the fresh, local fruit and dark chocolate was just, well, great. At times like this, saying less is saying more, so I'll shut up now.

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