Wednesday, November 10, 2010

101 South: San Mateo, Osteria Coppa

Osteria Coppa 139 S. B St., downtown, (650) 579-6021. D Tu-Sun; $$-$$$. Reservations advised. Contemporary Italian fare includes housemade pastas and artisanal pizzas. Diners here sit at tables covered informally with butcher paper and are encouraged to share items. My dining partner and I found a perfect dinner in a shared beet salad atop a thin, flavorful bed of avocado mousse; tagliatelle topped with a traditional unsaucy, meaty Bolognese; exquisitely succulent chicken al Mattone (boned and grilled under a brick) with Brussels sprouts and butternut squash puree; and chocolate lava cake with Bi-Rite roasted banana ice cream. My only disappointment was that I didn’t have room to taste a few of the other unusual pastas-- wild nettle puree-flavored pappardelle noodles tossed with lobster mushrooms, and bigoli tube pasta with red wine-braised duck and pumpkin. Cocktails and a list of pleasant wines by the glass are available. Note that service is slow and the noise level high, so don’t be in a hurry and bring the kids!

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