Rating: 8 / 10
When it comes to Italy, Stanley Tucci knows his shit. Ever since I saw the omelette scene at the end of Big Night, I knew this man is to be trusted implicitly when it comes to culinary recommendations....
His tv show "Searching For Italy" -exploring different regions of the country- was an eye-opener to some of the lesser known gems, often over-looked by the majority of tourists. I made it a point to try a few if I was in the area whilst zipping around Italy in November 2021.
Stanley spent some time in Milan, and Stanley ate at Osteria del Treno.
I called from Florence, since I only had one night in Milan before flying out and I know how popular Italian restaurants have waiting lists for weeks ahead. The gruff man on the end of the line informed me they were booked for the entire week, my heart sank a little despite being stood next to the duomo in floodlights. I explained that I only had one night in Milan and really wanted to try their food. He asked me to wait a second, muttered in Italian then returned to the phone pronouncing that if I was dining alone I could come right at opening time and eat. I beamed and hung up.
On a rather frigid night in Milan I waited outside until the door was opened, was shown a table in complete solitude, ordered the osso buco with saffron risotto and waited. The food came after a fifteen minute interval in which no new customers had arrived so I had the rare luxury of photographing the food without feeling sheepish.
I could see from the first bite why this place was legendary. It was true home-cooking done with love and bold flavours. The risotto was achingly luxurious, creamy and cooked to perfection. A hint of lemon zest from the gremolata draped over the osso buco just livened the taste even more.
The osso bucco was touch-sensitive and broke off in delirious swathes like an ice-shelf collapsing in arctic waters. I was dizzy with love.
As my final fork was placed in my mouth the first customers arrived, sitting directly by me as I motioned for the bill. An Italian couple dressed as if they were off to the Oscars, smiling gently and pointing at my empty plate. I nodded and said "Very good", to which they both responded with mirror agreements.
I paid, tipped, thanked the owner from the bottom of my heart, and stepped out into the chilly streets of Milan to hunt for some sparkling water to get me through the night.
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Tastes are subjective, so take everything with a pinch of salty tears"