It was a timely cue to a timely nap. Mrs Z could not contain her excitement and ordered her favorite drink (Spritz) the first chance she got. Then she quickly rediscovered the old formula. Long flight + drugs incurred during long flight + Spritz = Fall asleep during lunch at Al Portego, almost on top of the couple sitting next to us, sporting a strange looking smirk. I dont think I’ve seen this expression before in the 20 plus years or so. Like Robert de Niro smelling Durian. But the good news was that we were 5 minutes away from our comfortable new bed at the exceptional Ca’ Amadi. And I needed both of us well rested for the first highly anticipated meal of the trip. Even though I havent had a successful nap since I was 0.
You need to understand the complexity of making reservations for this 8 table room in order to see the humor in this scenario. A group of 4 walked in, noticed an empty table to the right, and decided to grab it, only to be asked politely to leave. Helga, we are not in Nuremberg any more. I had to grab the 9 pm slot (7 or 9) weeks in advance, and call from the airport in Frankfurt to confirm. One of the more difficult tables to get, though nothing compared to the big tables of the big apple. Reason being: Ask any Joe and Schmo that knows anything about the Venice Seafood dining scene and Osteria alle Testiere will be mentioned in every conversation.
They are running out of room to display accolades on their door front. Real accolades, not “Rated on Trip Advisor”. Why would anyone put this on their window at this day and age is a mystery to me. It’s essentially the equivalent of “We exist”. Osteria alle Testiere also understandably running out of room between tables. So before you get to to your seat, you need to quickly determine whether its more polite to showcase the couple next to you your front or behind, while they are chewing on their razor clams.
We started with one of the many seemingly timeless specialties. Scallops with orange and leeks in a light tasty broth that made the table bread to great use. Grilled razor clams were simple yet so addictive. I watched the owner carrying them to every table with envy, even though we just had them. The only place we’ve seen them in Venice. Unlike the outstanding Spaghetti with clams which we’ve seen everywhere. Another popular dish here.
But surprisingly, the little Gnochetti may have stolen the show. Tiny firm, succulent potato pillows beautifully absorbing the delicate white wine sauce with fresher than fresh shrimp. Tuna steak with a sweet aged balsamic was good but forgettable compared to the rest of the delicacies. Semifredo-like Zabaione with just enough hazelnut liquor to give Mrs Z that look again, was a solid finisher to another outstanding meal at Osteria alle Testiere. Washed it all down with a young but potent Soave.
“Dont wait another 7 years, I’m getting old” The owner told us as we were leaving with a very satisfied looking smug. I dont believe him. Nothing has changed. Things change in a much slower pace in Italy. I will see you in 7 my friend!