Rustic Italian in the old tavern

The 7-year-old Antica Osteria is much too young to be one of “the nurseries of our legislators”, but it sure feels like one: warm brick walls, dark wood work, an old house nested in the green, sleepy residential area northwest of Rice University, and a patronage mainly composed of old white men. The smell of books might have been replaced by the smell of pasta and cheese (this place was previously a bookstore), but Chef Velio Deplano and his partner Ray Memari have kept Antica Osteria in that hidden, rustic, peaceful feeling of a bookstore. The gentle orange light made me excited like a drifting sailor seeing a lighthouse. Normal bread and butter, not bread, vinegar and oil, accompanied our post-ordering conversation, followed by some airy garlic bread. A tiny voice in some little corner in my mind whispered that the garlic bread was waiting for the salad to travel down the pipe, but who could resist such beautiful orange color. We made sure that the garlic bread’s presence on the table was as fleeting as its texture. The insalata campagnola was great by itself anyway. The [...]

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