By Christine Fillat
A cool, classy Italian lunch is a summertime delight. If you don’t have the luxury of traveling to Italy, why not have your oasis on Main Street in Annapolis? Osteria 177 will provide you with the setting and the flavors that will transport you across the Atlantic, if only for an hour or two.
The clams and mussel appetizer is delicious. Small mussels and flavorful clams rest in a tomato sauce, delicately enlivened with hints of garlic, white wine, hot pepper and basil. We scoop up the sauce and slurp it out of the shell like barbarians. A crisp glass of pinot grigio is appropriate and called for.
There’s a lot going on in the tuna carpaccio. There’s seared tuna and sliced avocado, strewn with a smattering of caramelized onion, pine nuts, and golden raisins. The whole lot sits on a bed of arugula. The dish is properly dressed with extra virgin olive oil and a balsamic glaze. It’s very clean tasting, but makes for a dispute with my dining partner, who thought the avocado upstaged the tuna. I have no qualms with this dish, other than that perhaps it could use a little seasoning. For someone who is watching what they’re eating, this selection alone could be the ideal lunch.
The pastas we order are all properly served al dente. The linguine alla puttanesca is rich with a garlicy tomato sauce littered with capers. The penne is glorious. The “Penne Alla Vodka Con Salmone Afumicato” is made of lumps of crab meat sitting atop a wonderful rose sauce with little bits of tomatoes, zucchini and shallots. Rose sauce is a favorite of mine, and the technique here is deft. But if there is any smoked salmon in this dish, I had a hard time finding it, althoughI did detect crab. Don’t get me wrong, this is a delicious bowl of pasta and the crab meat is fabulous.
The mystery of the Penne Alla Vodka Con Salmone Afunicato gets solved with a visit to the dinner menu, where the penne with crab is offered. It’s odd that the server didn’t make us aware of this substitution. As it turns out, the crab dish was superior. So there was a happy ending.
House-made gnocchi with a gorgonzola sauce is quite good. The gnocchi is light. And the gorgonzola is flavorful without being heavy.
Lamb chops come to the table exactly rare with a rosemary and wine reduction. They are very tender and quite good. The asparagus and potato weren’t up to the beauty of the lamb. The asparagus had gone bad and the potato was some half-baked starchy reminder of days gone by. A lovely dish of sautéed mushrooms saved the day, however.
We were a bit disappointed in the server. He was rather slow on the delivery. We
felt ignored as we waited 15 minutes before we were able to order any food. And the place wasn’t all that busy. One hopes that this isn’t always the case here, particularly at lunch time.
Osteria 177 has been on Main Street since 2006 and has been owned by Arturo
Ottaviano all this time. The restaurant hasn’t changed much over the years and will eventually need a little face-lift. Overall, Osteria offers outstanding food and is just the type of fine restaurant one hopes to find on Main Street in Annapolis.
177 Main Street
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
Tues–Fri, 11:30 AM–2:30 PM
Mon–Thurs, 5 PM–10 PM
Fri & Sat, 5 PM–11 PM
Sunday, 5 PM–9 PM
Christine Fillat lives on the Magothy River and is an aficionado of Chesapeake Bay cooking and living.
Annapolis Home Magazine
Vol. 9, No. 4 2018