My partner Kat and I were delighted when we visited Osteria Panevino last year for a preview meal of San Diego Restaurant Week. I was thrilled when I learned we were headed back there. Two fellow writers, Sue and Linda, joined us this time around and I was glad to see a familiar friendly face, assistant manager Giuseppe Gagliano.
We sat on the patio this time around, and watched San Diegans pass by; some looking for a place for Friday night dinner, others just out soaking up the street scene. A waiter delivered a basket of freshly-baked bread with seasoned butter. The bread was soft, crusty and flavorful, a perfect start to what was going to be a memorable meal. We enjoyed it with a welcome taste of Prosecco courtesy of Giuseppe.
We made a point of ordering different things and we absolutely shared bites. We also opted to do wine pairings, a $12 option on the restaurant week menu. I chose the Carciofi All Giudea, artichokes with lemon butter and oven-roasted artisan bread. Kat chose Carpaccio Palmito, paper-thin slices of filet mignon with hearts of palm, avocado, and goat cheese. Linda decided on Polipo Alla Griglia, grilled octopus with borlotti beans, potatoes, garlic aioli and pesto. Finally, Sue opted for Fungi Ripieni, mushroom caps stuffed with lump crab meat, bread crumbs and savory herbs and spices.
The oohs and ahs were nearly deafening. We shared and savored our appetizers paired with Nobilo Chardonnay from New Zealand. My artichoke was tender and the bread ideal for soaking up the lemon sauce at the bottom of the bowl. I squeezed some fresh lemon on the carpaccio and tasted it with a bite of avocado and a sprinkle of goat cheese. Octopus can be tough, but Linda’s was tender and flavorful, perfect with the beans. I didn’t taste Sue’s crab-stuffed mushrooms, but my companions said they were wonderful.
I love lamb, but rarely have it, so when Giuseppe suggested the lamb ravioli I didn’t need convincing. Topped with a wild mushroom sauce, garlic and rosemary, the housemade ravioli was heavenly. Heated up the next day for leftovers they were every bit as good. Kat selected Risotto Mascarpone, made with pancetta, asparagus and dill. The bite I tasted was scrumptious. Linda savored her Mezzalune di Melenzane, eggplant ravioli with mascarpone cheese in a tomato sauce. Sue had the Pappardelle Ragu e Porcini, housemade fettuccine noodles with veal ragu, porcini mushrooms and shaved parmesan. We paired our entrées with Barone Ricasole Super Tuscan. Giuseppe again was spot on with the wine recommendation.
The ladies had been looking forward to the limoncello cake all evening. They each devoured this light cake with limoncello and mascarpone frosting. I ordered a crème brûlée. Topped with fresh blueberries and strawberries, it was exquisite, but I was surprised that the crust didn’t crunch when I put my spoon in it. Nonetheless, it was delicious and the limoncello was sublime.
San Diego Restaurant Week begins this Sunday, September 22nd and runs through the 29th with more than 100 participating restaurants. The restaurant week menu at Osteria Panevino offers an appetizer, entrée and dessert for $40. If you’d like each course paired with wine, add $12. Reservations are highly recommended. Call (619) 595-7959.