Osteria Stellina all the way out in Point Reyes is worth the drive for hearty Italian-inspired food. The short order review fo what I ate; bone marrow, a mustard green salad, and roasted lamb.
Certain details made the night memorable, like the preserved lemon on the bone marrow and the tenderness and non-fibrous texture of the greens, both unexpected treats. The warm simplicity of polenta, stewed greens and roasted lamb to finish made for an un-complex and hearty meal of fresh ingredients.
The meal, from start to finish was very good. Not a single complaint about the food. Straight-forward preparations and very good ingredients make for a wonderful experience. But I do have a complaint about other reviews and perhaps other food critics about their reviews of Stellina.
For all the hype surrounding Stellina and the raves from critics, I found it hard to believe Stellina didn’t make their own pasta? Uh? I ate at the bar and asked specifically if the pasta was made in-house. The response was a flat, NO. “Our pastas are hand-crafted in Italy, although on occasion, we do make a spaghetti-like noodle”.
I thought the whole appeal of Stellina was about some hyper-local, hand-crafted cuisine? Again, I was a bit taken aback. I’ve read so much about Stellina that I made too many assumptions. I thought at the very least, the pasta would have been made in-house. And to me, the ingredients from “local sources” I guess only goes as far as the produce and protein, but not the grains and the wine? I know I can get polenta from a local source these days, but since it wasn't mentioned on the menu, I can only assume it was out of a 100 mile radius.
Make no mistake; I liked the food a lot. In fact, I was inspired enough by my main course of lamb, polenta, and greens that I had a dinner party that same weekend and made roasted Berkshire pork from CA, polenta, and greens as a tribute to my meal at Stellina.
Osteria Stellina prepares food I want to eat and the menu inspires me to cook. But let’s be honest as critics about what they do and don’t do locally. There’s nothing hyper-local about imported pasta and Italian wine.