Table of contents:
- The reservation
- The atmosphere, the mood and the food
- The explanation of the menu
- The food
- The price
2023 Author: Cody Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-24 11:20
"And the winner is … Massimo Bottura, with Osteria Francescana!" Applause. Joy, tears, emotion, a sense of homeland, all together.
This was the reaction of us Italians to the proclamation of Massimo Bottura as the best cook in the world at the 50 Best Restaurant 2016, this is the pride for the success of the Modenese chef who represents Italian cuisine, the good one, the one different from the usual cliché all pizza and ragù, a cuisine capable of enchanting palates and fine and not, modern without forgetting the healthy roots of the best traditional cuisine in the world.
And we, we Italians who have Modena right here, want not to have the legitimate desire to go to the starred chef's home to taste his wonders and see what the air is like, to take a look, to try?
At least once in a lifetime. At least to have the opportunity to tell friends "I've been there". If "before" you had only thought about it, now the worm of curiosity is digging relentlessly.
It is a pity that the same desire has the same desire for hundreds of other enthusiasts or just curious who, like us, yearn for a place in the sun, in the hidden hope of seeing the messiah of Parmesan in 5 seasonings, the guru of non-boiled boiled meat, who perhaps approaches at our table and cloaks it with light and glory with the only mystical presence.
But we are firm, determined, resolute and with the advice obtained from those who really were there, we will have a clearer picture of the adventure "I want to go to Bottura".
Obviously, forget to book today for Saturday or for the anniversary of your sweetheart next week, it just doesn't exist. The waiting list for a place in the renowned club, at Bottura as well as at Noma and all the other places in the gang of the best in the world, is months. So many months. Four five six.
A wait that I miss an urgent MRI at the ASL manages to equalize, and then put your soul in peace: on the other hand, masses of people move from all over the earth, and the venue is certainly not a stadium.
Like any good investment (it should be said), the visit to the Osteria must be planned and planned well in advance, there is no escape. And even the reservation itself, online or by phone, will take no less than four or five hours of continuous refresh on the restaurant's web page or as many hours of continuous telephone calls.
But we are determined and the most bitter difficulties do not scare us. On the other hand, the game is worth the candle, our eager taste buds will not regret having waited so long. In the meantime, the restaurant downstairs will very well cater, as it has done so far, to your culinary needs.
The atmosphere, the mood and the food
When you decide to go to one of the world's temples of taste, you certainly don't go there to "grab a bite", or simply to try a new restaurant. For this function, the restaurants in your city continue to do well and the new trendy and alternative places that pop up like mushrooms every day.
At the Osteria, as in other places like him, you go there to have a culinary and gastronomic experience, almost "mystical", with all due respect to Santa Teresa d’Avila. You go there to savor, of course, but also to understand what the starred chef wanted to communicate to us with his dish, to savor a little of his aura (never was the term more apt for Bottura's cerebral personality).
In short, you go there, after all, also to contemplate works of art that are not hung on the wall but have a white plate as a canvas, and therefore also the place and its atmosphere will be in line: do not expect to revel and give yourself alla crapula as at the Locanda degli Amici in front of a plate of rabbit in porchetta.
Here the atmosphere is, too, mystical, and the setting is such that you can enjoy what is proposed on the plate / canvas with adequate respect.
A deafening silence will accompany your subdued (subdued, do you understand?) Mandibular, and deferential and obsequious waiters, perhaps too much, will always be close to you, like guardian angels, attentive to your every minimum need, ranging from filling your glass of liquid whenever it is finished listening to every request.
In short, a quiet and silent meal, a silence that can sometimes lead you to a slight state of awe, but also to a meal away from country toasts and screaming brats. Long last.
The explanation of the menu
Not dishes but almost works of modern art, we said. Which of course, sometimes they will take on these features (the dish is called "This little piggy went to the market", a quote from an Anglo-Saxon lullaby) and maybe they will make you wonder if you have come to the house of a starred chef or at the end of year performance of the daughter of the waiter, with adjoining refreshments and biscuits made by the birthday girl obtained with the mold in the shape of a pig.
But, apart from small pigs, the attentive waiters will explain each course and the thought behind their creation. But not only. Sometimes Bottura himself (!) Will come out of the kitchen, sit with you at the table (as if the awe created by the slightly monastic atmosphere in the room were not enough) and show you his creation, how the idea for that dish was born, how it was made and what he himself wanted to communicate to us.
However, it is noteworthy that the author takes an interest in the diner and wants to lead him right there, right in the place where his idea was born, and that for him it is not indifferent that the customer understands what the chef wanted to communicate with. that dish.
There are currently three tasting menus: Tradition, with Bottura's most famous dishes at € 180; Innovation: with the new dishes created by the chef for € 195; a third menu with dishes from both cards called Supermenu for € 210. Another possibility: do not choose a tasting menu and order individual dishes from the menu. Not a particularly convenient choice.
When you go to the Osteria Francescana, you take good food for granted, by implication, for obvious. The search for the best ingredients, the impeccable execution techniques, the continuous search for discreet but clearly perceptible originality, as well as the master's touch, are elements that in places of this type do not, or should never, fail to meet expectations.
The dishes are conceived, studied, executed with the skill and competence expected of the best cooks in the world, and range from bread wafer with salted rabbit ice cream, to rabbit macarons, fried oyster on condensed ham broth. or lentils cooked in eel broth with turnip emulsion, or even suckling pig cooked at low temperature with saffron jelly, to finish with crunchy foie gras with balsamic vinegar.
Dishes that those who have had the good fortune to taste have described as one of the most voluptuous sensory experiences they have encountered.
Yes, okay, the food, the atmosphere, the messiah, I explain it, everything is okay but … the price?
If unfortunately you belong to the category of people of which Onassis said "if you ask the price, it means that you cannot afford it", in the end you will want to have at least a vague idea, an order of magnitude of how much you will spend for your three hours of signed eno-gastronomic pleasure, of how much of your sweaty salary you will go - literally - to eat, in one evening.
Well, count on an average of 300 eurini (as Bottura himself explained to Dissapore), a hundred more, a hundred less: you don't want to be there to shed lice on a hundred euros, true, after you wanted to embark on this enterprise and after all the effort to book and the months of anxious waiting?
But those who spent them, or rather invested them, were happy and did not regret them, and this is the important thing, to spend time, energy and (financial) resources in something that deserves, in something that is worthwhile.
And the Osteria Francescana is worth the effort.