The recently-opened East 12th Osteria, located on the corner of First Avenue and 12th Street in New York's East Village, is a wonderful place to while away an afternoon while enjoying a leisurely brunch. We had the opportunity to sample the brunch menu at the invitation of the restaurant, and left quite impressed.
The restaurant is the brainchild of the husband-and-wife duo of Roberto and Giselle Deiaco. Roberto is a Northern Italy native, and was previously executive chef at the Rainbow Room and Palio. He makes all breads, pasta, and gelato from scratch on a daily basis.
The new brunch menu is small but varied, with a selection of both sweet and savory dishes. To start, we recommend going with a sgroppino, which is a scoop of stellar gelato (available in rotating flavors) melting into a glass of prosecco (go with the pear gelato if it’s available). If you’re in the mood for something sweet, go for the Strapazzato alle Ciliegie, shredded pancakes topped with a chunky sauce made from fresh cherries. Topped with a dusting of powdered sugar, it’ buttery, fluffy, not-too-sweet, and not nearly as filling as a full stack of pancakes.
Savory options include an incredibly flavorful play on shrimp and grits, pesce di mare caldo su soffice di polenta, an assortment of nicely cooked seafood including shrimp, calamari, and mussels on a bed of creamy polenta, topped with a rich seafood-stock-based sauce. It’s elegant and refined, and feels just as home on the dinner menu. There’s also a rich uova Florentine that replaces the English muffin with a potato pancake, and spaghetti chittara alla carbonara made with house-made spaghetti, which had a good flavor but was unfortunately overly soupy.
The space is bright and airy, and the Deiacos are wonderful hosts. East 12th Osteria is a great place to do some people-watching while enjoying a very solid brunch. Don’t forget to order a sgroppino or three!