Sherman's Food Adventures: Autostrada Osteria Downtown

Autostrada Osteria Downtown

"Let's go somewhere to celebrate our birthdays!", exclaimed Jacqueline one day.  Well, that certainly seemed like a good idea since our birthdays are only 2 days apart.  The bigger question is where would we go?  She really wanted to try Autostrada in Downtown, but she also knew I had visited the Main Street location before.  However, that wasn't a big deal to me because it isn't all about the food (it's a big part).  Rather, the company is equally important.  Furthermore, not all locations are made equal because at the end of the day, there is a different chef (even if they are cooking the same menu).  The best example of this is Kirin, where each location seems to have their own personality.

Just like the last time I ate at Autostrada, we started with the same appies including the Anchovy on Focaccia as well as the Vitello Tonnato.   They weren't fooling around with the white anchovies as they were large and completely covered the foccacia.  As such, there was no shortage of briny salty tanginess to go with the ample amount of fresh dill, pickled cucumber, radish and herb butter.  Loved the textures at play from the crusty toast to the crunch of the cucumber and radish.  The dill really came through with a bright herbaceousness.    Similar to the last time I had it at the Main Street location, the vitello tonnato was excellent.  Sliced thin, the veal was medium and buttery tender.  On top, the tuna mayo had a nice viscosity where it was neither too thick nor runny.  It was creamy with plenty of seasoning and tuna flavour.

We ended up sharing some pastas including the Rigantoni alla Norma with eggplant, pomodoro and chili.  As simple as this was, I actually really enjoyed it due to the bright and tangy tomato sauce.  There was enough saltiness for impact without being reliant as the main flavouring agent.   Although there was chili in the description, the sauce only had a slight kick.  I liked how the eggplant was cooked through while still retaining a certain firmness.  As for the pasta, it was al dente with a good bite.   My favourite pasta of the night was the Strozzapreti with duck & anchovy ragu.  The pasta itself was texturally a delight with a firm springiness.  Unlike the version I had at the Main Street location, the ragu was perfect.  It was moist while tender with some meatiness. I could definitely taste the duck as well as the saltiness of the anchovy.

Our last pasta was Tagliatelle Bolognese which was also very good.  I found the pasta to have a good rebound when chewed.  It was firmly al dente while cooked through.  The bolognese was rich and meaty with deep tomato flavour.  I would say this was a close second to the strozzapreti for best pasta of the night in my opinion.  But really, all of the food was on point and delicious.  Maybe my eyes deceived me here, I swear these portions were slightly bigger than the Main Street location.  Therefore, we were quite full from the meal.

The Good:
- Well-prepared food
- Attentive service
- Legit pastas

The Bad:
- Seating can be a bit squished, but not bad when less busy


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