A little background information here before we delve into the eats! We were served by a casually dressed guy, can't remember his name. There were only two male servers, he was the shorter one. We started with a bottle of wine while we looked over the menu. For a group of four, we decided on three appetizers, two pastas and a main dish.
For the main, we wanted the WHOLE roasted fish, and I had inquired if it was truly whole, including head and tail. He quickly responded that "no, it was actually filets". So I asked for a bit of extra time to decide on something else. He returned to the table shortly later after talking to another server, apologized and said he was wrong, it did indeed come with head and tail. (This is what made me think that he might be new and not really knowledgeable about the menu.) With that settled, we decided to go ahead and ordered the fish.
First appy was the Kale Salad, it was tasty with a lemon flavour and lots of crunch from the crispy topping. The finely chopped kale was easy to eat and made it a breeze to share.
We also got the Prosciutto di Parma and that was fantastic. It was thinly sliced and not overly fatty. The accompanying apple and grana were sliced just as thinly. It was a beautiful dish and was as fun to eat as it was delicious.
For a warm appetizer, we decided to try the Garlic Bread, which came swathed in its own little aluminium foil blanket. The aroma was amazing and we appreciated that it wasn't overly smothered with butter. However, it did seem a little Safeway-like.
While we were enjoying this, with half the salad and most of the bread still unconsumed, the server came to the table with our pastas. We asked him to take a look at our table, and it was evident that we weren't ready for our mains yet, actually, there was no room for them! We asked if he could take it back until we were ready. He proceeded to argue with us, saying that is the way Italians have dinner. He reluctantly took it back and said "Well, I'll take it back since you don't understand how dining in an Italian restaurant works, because that's how Italians do it." He also said he'll get us a fresh one when we're ready. I thought this was strange, because on their own website, under Alla Famiglia, it says "bread and antipasti before pasta, then protein followed by dessert."
My past reviews of Cotto, Charlie's Little Italian, Buca and more show that I have indeed dined in many Italian restaurants before. I have never been to Italy but my sister has, and she told me that it is "not" how they do it. I have had pasta as a first course before, but it is clear from our order (which was placed all at the same time), that we intended the three first items to be appies, and the other three to be our mains.
For the rest of the evening, he did not return to refill our wine or water glasses; thankfully, the other servers stepped in, clearing our plates and cutlery when we were actually done our three appetizers. The pastas came together which was fine with us.
The first was the Tortiglioni, with shortrib braciola, and Sunday sugo. The braciola was really dry, almost like "stirfried beef in a Chinese food court", said my sister. The texture of the pasta was a nice al dente, no complaints there.
Our next pasta was the Creste di Gallo. The little half moon pastas were perfectly cooked and quite cute. I really liked them, and the chicken with mushrooms were perfect for the sauce. The ragu was light, and the dish was well-balanced.
However, as you can see, the cheese sprinkled on at the time of serving did not melt. Can you guess why? The pasta was barely lukewarm. Perhaps that's another Italian tradition I'm unaware of but I have a feeling that all our server did was to put both our pastas under a warming lamp (which might have contributed to the drying out of the braciola) until we were done our appies, and did not fire up a fresh one later, as he said he would.
We saw pastas arriving at nearby tables and they were piping hot, with steam clearly visible. And no, they didn't get theirs with their salad and bread, there was definitely a pause in the service for them.
Anyways, putting that aside, our server waited until we were done our pastas before bringing on the Whole Roasted Fish. And as it arrived at the table, the new server offered to serve it for us, by removing the bone. We said we were fine doing that ourselves. Can you see what's missing? Yes, the head and the tail and the skin too! When I order a whole roasted fish, I thought the head and tail would be part of a whole fish...again, I must have been mistaken. The flavours were good with the meyer lemon and capers, but I was really looking forward to the crispy skin, and they decided that I should do without that.
We didn't see our server again until he handed us the bill. We reluctantly tipped, but I wished we could have designated the tip to go to all the other servers who actually served us.
I will likely never return to OSV. Despite the amazing appetizers and the possibly fantastic pastas when served fresh, the condescending tone of our server made me feel judged and unwelcomed. It is unfortunate as it's close to home and I had heard great reviews. My sister left very disappointed and I don't blame her.