Monday, December 10, 2007

Restaurants: Osianna, Fairfield CT

Osianna opened its doors during the summer of 2007, in a space that seemed to have a somewhat unlucky track record. In the past several years it was a French restaurant (Voila), then an unmemorable seafood restaurant, and later a New England-themed eatery(Sherman's Reef). Finally, the owners of the wildly popular Quattro Pazzi and Cafe 4 Quattro restaurants claimed the space and turned it into Osianna, a "Mediterranean taverna". Named for one of the owner's daughters, Osianna has an airy, Greek-nautical themed interior, and serves a variety of "small dishes", salads, sandwiches, and entrees prepared in the Greek and Italian traditions. Their specialty is fresh seafood, but for landlubbers, there are plenty of other dishes to tempt your palate.
While most Americans have come to appreciate Italian cookery for more than baked ziti and pizza, most still consider Greek food to be what is typically found in a diner; Spanikopita, Gyros, and Souvlaki. If you travel to Greece, as I did on my honeymoon, you'd be surprised to discover that the cuisine extends far beyond what is commonly found in America.

At Osianna, you won't find Americanized versions of anything. The food is reminiscent of the deliciously simple dishes one finds in the Greek Islands and Southern Italy---- loaded with fresh flavors and excellent quality ingredients. On my several visits to Osianna, I've tried practically all of the "small dishes" which are like appetizers. Most times I like to select a few small dishes in place of an entree, in order to try a wider variety of flavors. However, don't let that steer you away from the entrees; they are definitely worth ordering.
According to a recent New York Times article, "small plates" (think tapas) are the new direction in food, while entrees are "near extinction." However, at Osianna, they manage to get them both right. There is a wide selection of small plates for the smaller appetite or people like me who like to eat a lot of different things, and a well balanced list of entrees for those wanting a more traditional meal. I have never once been disappointed with either option.

While the quiet dining room and white tablecloths may steer families away, I found the staff most accommodating when I dined with my two young children. Although they did not have high chairs or a children's menu, the kitchen was more than happy to make small dishes of pasta for my kids. If you are dining with little ones, it is best to go at lunchtime, or for an early dinner, (before 6pm) when it tends to be a bit less crowded. In addition, during the warmer months, the outside patio overlooking Reef Road is a perfect place to bring the family and watch the cars (and the occasional fire engine) pass by.

Osianna is a fantastic addition to the Fairfield dining scene, which is quickly becoming a dinnertime destination for people from all over the county. It has the know-how of a seasoned restaurant, an exciting menu, and an attentive waitstaff.. Three cheers to Osianna bringing fantastic, Mediterranean-inspired food to Fairfield in an attractive, upscale setting.

My favorite dishes:
Small Plates: Shrimp Saginaki with Tomato and Feta, Grilled Marinated Octopus with Rocket and Red Onion, and Baby Eggplant Stuffed with Caramelized Onions and Kasseri Cheese

Salads: Rocket and Romaine Salad with Grapes, Walnuts, Gorgonzola Cheese and Cranberries, and the Vine Ripened Tomato Salad with Olives and Feta

Entrees: Fresh Fettucini with Veal Ossobucco Sauce, and Branzino Fillet with Caramelized Onions and Roasted Tomatoes

70 Reef Road (at the corner of Sherman Court)
Fairfield, CT 06824
(203) 254-2070

Lunch: Small Plates & Salads, $7-15, Sandwiches, $8-15, Entrees, $15-19
Dinner: Small Plates & Salads, $7-17, Entrees, $22-37

Open every day for lunch (11-3pm) and dinner (5-10/10:30pm)
No reservations.

No comments: