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In her review of Osteria 177, Ms. Lewis does more than simply find the right adjective for each dish she identifies. Her introduction offers something to readers who don't know that Italian food differs from region to region.* She is quick to point out the restaura[n]teurs from Lombardy and the Veneto honor local food ways along with those of their native country. For example, American diners are used to restaurants that provide olive oil for dipping their bread. (But garlic-infused!!?)

She continues:

Few of these regional dishes are known to the American dining public. What we consider classic Italian preparations are really just well-known versions of local specialties: spaghetti with clams, spaghetti with meatballs, veal cutlet Milanese, steak Florentine. You wouldn't find spaghetti with clams in a home-style restaurant in the Piedmont region around Turin, and you won't find spaghetti with meatballs in a Venetian kitchen.

1. Italians do not serve spaghetti with meatballs in Palermo, Cremona, Piacenza, Volterra or Ferrara either. Why wasn't the Food Section editor in cahoots with the copy editor here?

I know this seems a trivial matter and that it's small and uppity of me to single out. However, there was a fairly recent article in The New York Times entitled "The Spaghetti Code" that bothered some of us because Kim Severson's wonderful personal story about the failure to trace her family's spaghetti sauce to native Apulia paired the American recipe for sauce with meatballs to go with spaghetti instead of offering readers her Puglese aunt's version of sauce to compare with her own. At least she informed readers that Italians don't put meatballs on spaghetti.

This is my main point and it's a quibble. It may be more of an unfortunate choice of examples/words/phrasing rather than a sign of insufficient research. However, "well-known versions" doesn't clarify the fact that serving meatballs on spaghetti is an Italian-American OR an American practice based on numerous types of meatballs in Italy, aided by the wide-spread availability of dried pasta from Italian-American manufacturers.

2. I wish the review either critiqued or explained how Osteria 177 saw its pan-regional menu as being any different from the menus of other Italian restaurants other than, perhaps, noting each region of origin next to each dish. We all know that Piemonte has been represented for a long time in this city and that Fabio Trabocchi stresses the regionality of his dishes even though Le Marche may inspire him to create versions that are more in keeping with the culture of "Fine Dining". Dino favors several regions, though a love of the Veneto is clear as soon as you see the logo painted on the windows.

Besides a good loaf of French bread, a real deli, fine Mexican and Chinese food in-town, if this city needs another Italian restaurant, I'd make a case for Sicilian food.

*Link to article in The Washington Post. (Not here; this is a footnote.)

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Okay. It would have made more sense to use the word "review" as the link, since that's the subject of the sentence (and the post as a whole.)

Also, the purpose of the meatball reference is not to enlighten the people who read the Anne Arundel Extra about the wide variation of Italian regional cuisine, it's to provide one example and move on to the substance of the review. Editing has nothing to do with it - in fact, an editor is just as likely to whack multiple examples like that for space than they are to leave them in. Plus, if I'm not mistaken, the reviews that appear in the Extras aren't coordinated with or approved by the Food editor, so they're even less likely to include the background information you might expect from a Food section feature.

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Also, the purpose of the meatball reference is not to enlighten the people who read the Anne Arundel Extra about the wide variation of Italian regional cuisine, it's to provide one example and move on to the substance of the review.
I was not aware this is from the AAE since I stumbled upon the review while browsing through "Food & Dining" online; I missed yesterday's paper.

N.B. I had to edit my initial post because I read in haste and missed the nuances of "well-known versions".

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Hard to believe this place used to be a Burger King. The chef came from the short-lived and sadly lamented "Mona Lisa" restaurant where the old Calvert House restaurant once stood on Rt.2. They did a really fine job with their pastas, but were priced sky high. Far higher than the market could sustain, situated as they were in a rather dreary little strip sitting between the local Chevy's and the T.G.I Friday's. They will have quite a bit of competition on Main Street though, with Maria's, La Piccola Roma, and Mangia all right there vying for a slice of the just-off-the-yacht pizza pie.

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