To bring authenticity from its core roots requires spending time at the source if your intent is to deliver the unadulterated real thing. So off to Rome went Osteria Mattone’s co-owner and chef Ted Lahey with owner-operator Ryan Pernice. And back to greater Atlanta they came to deliver off the beaten path, authentic Italian cuisine. Choosing the bustling neighborhood community of Roswell, on the outskirts of Atlanta’s northern edge, they added the “keep it simple” lesson from noted chef, Michael White, and opened up restaurant.
To get the dinner party started at 5 pm every day except Monday, consider a signature cocktail such as the Negroni, an $11.50 combination of Plymouth gin, Campari and vermouth--with a hint of orange that strolls down the throat in smooth fashion. A few sips later you’ll find yourself in a relaxed and ready state of mind to look over a menu of pure temptation.
Polpo ($12) is a combination of grilled octopus caramelized to perfection with chickpeas, radicchio and a mint-lime vinaigrette. The octopus is tender, not chewy, which is always a good sign of both freshness and culinary artistry.
Fruit Mistook ($14) is a combination of shrimp, calamari and white anchovy that have been flash fried crisp for a fresh, light taste.
Carpaccio Di Tonno ($12) is line caught tuna, olive oil, cured shad roe, and lemon arranged beautifully in a semi-flattened style, versus the typical thin cut and/or pounded carpaccio that is far more common. A light sprinkling of salt allowed the natural freshness of the fish to shine through with no a fishy smell.
Margherita Pizze ($11), something Lahey experienced during a pit stop in Naples was pure magic. Fresh tomato gravy, fresh cheeses and fresh basil were indicative of the true meaning of pizza — Italian style. Fungi Pizze ($12) has the same thin, hand tossed crust laden with roasted mushrooms, fragrant truffles, caramelized onions and fontina. From the mere ingredients alone, you can imagine how good a pizza it is!
Agnolotti di Oxo ($22) is one of the signature dishes and requires quite a bit of preparation. In fact, there’s a depiction of the multi-stage process on the dining room wall. The al dente pasta stuffed with braised oxtail and short rib with dabs of a rich and luscious jus is stunningly delicious.
Whether or not red meat is for you, Pesce Spada ($24) will hold your palate hostage for days to come. Grilled swordfish steak, atop a caponata (a fancy Sicilian name for an eggplant based dish) with bell pepper, zucchini, golden raisins and pistachio basil oil is to be hailed. The tender steak texture of the fish in combination with the vegetables baring a hint of sweetness is simply unbeatable.
Aside from many truly authentic and absolutely divine Italian dishes, Osteria Mattone further sets itself apart from the plethora of other restaurants on Roswell, Georgia’s Canton Street as being the only restaurant on the strip with a pastry chef.
Think chocolate cake when you hear Torta Di Cioccolata Alla Nocciola ($10). Imagine layers of chocolate and hazlenut decadence. If that doesn’t do it, Budino Caramellato ($9) will. A bread pudding of insatiable salted caramel, served in a puddle of chocolate and a heap of gelato simply can’t be beaten!