Is that Marc Vetri manning a pizza oven…in South Jersey?!
Yes, it is, and that was last night at the preview party for Osteria Moorestown. This Jersey version of Vetri’s incredibly successful Philadephia Osteria is set for a public opening on November 18, but I had the chance to sample some of the food and drink offerings last night.
Located at the Moorestown Mall, Osteria truly should set a new standard for Italian dining in South Jersey where, to be bluntly honest, Vetri’s style and caliber of food just can’t easily be found. (I.e., this is no Italian-American red gravy fare.) The interior of the restaurant is beautiful and modern in design, with an attractive bar across from an open kitchen, several separate dining rooms to create an intimate feeling, and an attractive outdoor dining area which should be a hit in warmer weather. We enjoyed several truly delicious and unique wines, several of which are “on tap” at the bar, and the Italian themed cocktails which went perfectly with the antipasti offerings of the evening.
At Osteria Moorestown, expect to enjoy fabulous house-prepared salumi, mozzarella “in carrozza” (think adult mozzarella sticks), Tuscan-style liver crostini (so yummy I think I had three helpings), and some of the most authentic Neapolitan-style pizza you can find in the area. Indeed, the pizza at Osteria’s Philly location was my favorite thing on the menu there, and the two pies I sampled last night were perfection: a puffy charred crust, thin middle with robustly flavorful toppings…so good.
I was hoping there might be some samples of the pasta and secondi offerings last night, but I suppose they wouldn’t have made for good cocktail party offerings. What was decadently good as a dessert bite? Cannoli stuffed with torrone semifreddo – three great tastes that taste amazing together.
All in all I left extremely excited about returning to the restaurant once fully open and having the chance to sample everything in a regular lunch or dinner setting. With Jose Garces soon opening a Distrito location next door at the Mall, it could really mean the start of a exciting dining scene in Moorestown – and less reason than ever to cross a bridge to enjoy some exciting dining options.
Which Philadelphia-famous chef would you love to see join the Jersey side of the force?