Osteria Francescana, Modena, 5/6/16

exterior
exterior

This small place is a 30 minute train ride from Bologna. Modena is a cute town that is worth spending a little time in when you visit their 3 Michelin starred restaurant. There are a couple dining rooms, one with 5 tables and about 3 in the others. They offer the same menu at lunch and dinner which consists of 2 main tasting menus, one of their ‘greatest hits’- Sensations (13 courses)  and one of newer dishes – Tradition in Evolution  (10 courses) and an a la carte menu.  Then they had a separate menu with a combination tasting of the other 2 tastings of about 12 courses and then amuse and extra treats added to that. Talk about confusing.  Luckily the waiter was helpful and suggested going with the combo or Evolution if this was your first visit.

sign outside
sign outside
menu cover
menu cover
Sensations tasting menu
Sensations tasting menu
Evolution tasting menu
Evolution tasting menu

a la carte starters

a la carte first courses
a la carte first courses
a la carte second courses
a la carte second courses
menu back
menu back
cover
Frankie is looking forward to meeting Massimo
Combination tasting cover
Combination tasting cover
Combo tasting menu
Combo tasting menu
combo tasting menu in Italian
combo tasting menu in Italian

 

We chose the combination tasting and also chose our own bottles of wine rather than the pairings, which are offered for each tasting.  Needless to say, everyone there spoke great English including chef Massimo Bottura who visited the dining rooms several times during the meal. When I introduced him to Frankie he was most excited to have her picture with his Frank, a Duane Hanson security guard that is in the entry room.  Massimo has an infectious aura of fun and enjoyment.

Massimo introduces Frankie to his security guard
Massimo wanted to pose Frankie with his wax sculpture security guard named Frank
table set up
table set up
After the train ride Frankie took a nap on the purse stool
After the train ride Frankie took a nap on the purse stool
wine
wine
water holder, olive oil container
water holder, olive oil container
Frankie checked out the gold charger
Frankie checked out the gold charger

 

We started with a warm crusty bread and olive oil followed by a couple amuse bouche, the ‘fish and chips’ topped with ice cream was twist on the ordinary and quite tasty.  The second amuse included a macaroon filled with totally smooth stewed rabbit. It was great fun paired with the sweetness of the cookie. The puffed pastry was filled with salt cod and was good.

warm bread
warm bread
fish and chips with ice cream/.
fish and chips with ice cream/.
Macaroon with stewed rabbit and puffed pastry filled with baccalà
Macaroon with stewed rabbit and puffed pastry filled with baccalà

 

Next was more bread, mostly cottony in texture but the breadsticks were a delicate crisp that was quite appealing and tasty.

breadsticks
breadsticks
bread basket
bread basket
Frankie wanted a breadstick
Frankie wanted a breadstick

 

First course was a breaded oyster on top of a cup containing the broth made from the bones. The oyster was tasty and the broth mild with almost a musty taste. I would have preferred a plate of the oysters.

Misery and Nobility
Misery and Nobility
Oyster
Oyster
broth of the bones underneath
broth of the bones underneath

 

Second was lentils cooked al dente and made to look like caviar, served in a caviar tin.  By not cooking the lentils completely it mimicked the texture of a fish egg. It included bits of eel which gave it a taste of fish and seasoned with pickled cucumber, onion, crème fraîche and beet root and then had a custard underneath. A fun and tasty course.

Lentils are better than caviar
Lentils are better than caviar
as plated
as plated
underneath
underneath

 

In the next, the mackerel was grilled,  pig in the form of pork belly and the saffron was a terrine. This wasn’t my favorite course.

Mackerel, suckling pig and saffron
Mackerel, suckling pig and saffron
as plated
as plated

 

The gnocchi included anchovy, cucumber, mint and bottarga. The cucumbers were cut into pea size pieces and added shape contrast and acidity. The addition of a little herb completed the dish for a really nice affect.

Gnocchi as tzatziki salad
Gnocchi as tzatziki salad
as plated
as plated
Frankie found an orchid in the bathroom
Frankie found an orchid in the bathroom

Mediterranean en papillote was a fillet of sole with three preparations – a lemon sauce, salt crust and wrapped in paper. It worked into a very nice taste with a lemony sauce a hint of olives.

Mediterranean en papillote
Mediterranean en papillote
Massimo greets his guest
Massimo greets his guest

 

Autumn in New York contained seasonal vegetables and flowers, a broth of mint and spheres of zucchini. It was filled with good tastes a fun visual effect.

Autumn in New York
Autumn in New York
as plated
as plated
red wine front
red wine front
wine back
wine back

 

The five ages of Parmigiano presented you with various temperatures and textures – creamy, foamy, cool – and all of them delicious.

Five ages of Parmigiano Reggiano in different textures and temperatures
Five ages of Parmigiano Reggiano in different textures and temperatures
from the top
from the top
Frankie takes a look around
Frankie takes a look around

The crunchy part of the lasagna had a ragù of diced rather than ground meat, béchamel and crunchy pasta. It was fun to eat and really good.

The crunchy part of the lasagna
The crunchy part of the lasagna
another angle
another angle

 

The piggy went to market was a series of meat and vegetable combinations that you ate from left to right, all representing different areas. The last was my favorite.  They were African (pork belly), North America (beet root), Asian (pork belly, fish and lime), South America (banana, lime) and Barbecue (sausage, apples). It was really fun to eat and yummy.

This little piggy went to the market
This little piggy went to the market
close up
close up
close up
close up
close up
close up
Frankie liked the gold tissue bos
Frankie liked the gold tissue bos

 

The Croccantino of foie gras was like an ice cream bar coated with almonds and macadamia nuts and containing some balsamic vinegar. No more explanation needed – it was delicious!

Croccantino of foie gras
Croccantino of foie gras
inside
inside

 

The Gazpacho had flavors of various berries, orange and spheres of toasted bread. It was acidic like, tomato gazpacho and very good as well as being pretty to see.

Gazpacho as a pre-dessert
Gazpacho as a pre-dessert
as plated
as plated
Frankie liked this one
Frankie liked this one

 

The lemon tart was to appear as if it had been dropped but when it’s this good, who cares, scoop it up and eat it. It was extra yummy!

Oop! I dropped the lemon tart
Oop! I dropped the lemon tart
closer
closer
Frankie thought I should have left her some
Frankie thought I should have left her some

 

The final treats were a macaroon with truffles and foie gras (which had a very strongly flavor of truffle and creaminess of the rich foie gras); a cherry with liquid cherry filling which you ate in one bite and chocolate and foie gras round.  All were great!

extra treats
extra treats
Frankie found more flowers
Frankie found more flowers
one of the nice waiters
one of the nice waiters
Massimo with Frankie
Massimo with Frankie

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