Have you ever heard about a place from so many people that you finally give in and just go to see what all the fuss was about? This was our experience with Chianti Osteria. I can’t tell you how many people recommended this place to us. They know I am discerning about my food; especially about Italian cuisine. (It’s a nice way of saying I am a pain in the ass and picky.) I was assured that I would be happy there. One night on a spur of the moment type decision, The Brit decided it was time for us to try it.
The Brit comments: Warning, the restaurant’s website plays music when you open it, which is why we do not include a link, as we usually would in our reviews.
You cannot tell what lies inside from a look at the building’s exterior. The area is a little industrial strip mall on Susiun’s Main street. The It’s It factory store sits next door. I would have never guessed that a fine dining establishment was in that location.
When we walked in I have to say I was amazed. Beautiful warm colors and chandeliers lit the space. They have done the best with the decor that they could with that particular building; it is lovely. There are white linen table cloths and warm gold walls. Lit votive candle holders on the walls and tables provide atmosphere and warmth.
The other thing that was very apparent from the beginning until the end of the meal was the old-fashioned service. It was so good to see waiters and waitresses serving correctly; bowing from the waist, with a hand behind their backs as they served or cleared plates and glasses. It is very rare you see that anymore. Both of us commented on it. Our waiter seemed to be of Italian decent as he pronounced the names of dishes with an Italian accent; just another one of those little things that made us feel like this was a bit special.
The only slight let down for me when perusing the menu was that their local wine was not the best possible selection. I would have thought that the Dolcetto from G V Cellars or any of the Vezer reds would be a perfect pairing. The other choices on the menu I had not experienced, so I ended up drinking a glass of the Meomi Pinot Noir which was a safe bet. The Brit had a glass of the house Super Tuscan blend which was a little better than average.
We weren’t particularly hungry that night so we opted not to have a starter. Fresh warm bread was brought to our table and it was outstanding. Sometimes it is really hard not to eat that entire basket of bread. This place made it extra challenging. I could smell the warm goodness from across the table.
The Brit comments: My ability to resist the bread was negatively impacted when California Girl pushed it from the middle of the table towards me. I nobly helped her by eating the remainder of the basket.
For my dinner I ordered the Branzino (European Sea Bass), and The Brit ordered the Veal Romano. I am a big lover of sea bass in general so I was excited to see exactly how they were going to prepare and serve this dish.
The chef hit it out of the park with the Branzino. It was cooked correctly and all the flavors were a perfect symphony in my mouth. The presentation was wonderful too. I savored each delicious bite with delight. The surprising thing about this dish is although it was fairly low in calories, there was a ton of food on my plate. Two huge pieces of fish, sautéed spinach, and pops of cherry tomatoes. Many times with fish, the dish is so light you end up feeling hungry. I was well satisfied without feeling stuffed or uncomfortable. I was able to eat dessert and since I didn’t gorge on the amazing bread basket and ate such a healthy low-calorie and low carb dinner, I deserved it right? Yes; thank-you for your agreement dear reader.
The Brit’s Veal Romano looked beautiful. Soft veal in a lemon sauce with crispy prosciutto; served with a side of mashed potato. I heard many mmm’s from his side of the table until he finally let me take a bite. I didn’t get a good taste with that first bite; I thought the texture was odd. I didn’t realize he gave me mostly the crispy prosciutto so I wasn’t having the flavor or texture of the veal. I managed to wrestle a second bite out of him (this was not an easy task I assure you). That bite made me understand all of his appreciative sounds; beautiful, tender veal in a perfect light lemon sauce. Even the potatoes were spot-on and had great flavor.
We decided to share a dessert. The Brit will always be boring and choose ice-cream, but we did compromise on an Affogato. That is a scoop of vanilla gelato with a shot of espresso. Even I who don’t really enjoy ice cream loved this. Not only would I happily eat this dessert again, but I would order it myself. It was just that yummy.
The Brit comments: I beg to differ, I frequently choose something other than ice-cream; if it is available I will almost always pick a sorbet. The espresso was served on the side, so that you could pour it over the gelato. (See I did not order ice-cream this time; I ordered gelato.) The result was a creamy coffee tasting dessert.
? Really Brit?!?
This place is not inexpensive. It is fine dining. Our dinner for the two of us with no starters, a glass of wine each and a dessert to share was $90. I thought it was well worth the price.
I would happily eat here again. Everything was spot on. We both loved it and will be going back soon. Hopefully next time I will bring my camera with me so I can get better shots of both the food and the restaurant. This place gets two thumbs up and we highly recommend you try it.
The Brit comments: Fairfield, as previously noted on this blog is bereft of good options for eating out. The neighboring town of Suisun has, despite being far smaller, a wide choice. Now to add to the disparity, we encounter fine dining there.