With our excellent experience at Osteria Francescana, we decided to dine at its year-old little sister restaurant, Franceschetta 58 also located in Modena, Italy. All regular menu items are priced at €8.50 (~$11), and specials around €10-€12 ($12-$16). Many different types of dishes can be selected from the salumi and cheese, soup, vegetable, fish, meat, pasta and dessert sections of the menu.
This unique approach provides a very affordable way to try out dishes from the very creative Osteria Francescana team. The environment is completely the opposite of the pristine, proper and serene ambiance that Osteria Francescana provides, but in a good way. Categorized as a bistro brasserie, the casual atmosphere has a lively crowd scene.
Charmingly, dishes are served on mismatched plates, and silverware is brought out in whatever holder is available at the time — a tall mug or mason jar for example. The menu isn’t solely focused on food from Emilia-Romagna, it also offers traditional fare that can be found in other regions of Italy.
The amouse-bouche sent out from the kitchen were perfectly cooked bite-sized cheese omelets topped with sage:
Since we are in the region that originated it, we decided to start with an order of Mortadella sliced very thinly and served with a plate of pickled vegetables:
The Fava Bean Macca is typically a Southern Italian dish. The purée made from dried fava bean flour has the same consistency as humus. It was served with slightly bitter sautéed dandelion greens and farro crackers which served as a perfect vehicle for the spread. Topped with shaved ricotta salata (aged ricotta cheese), it was a great vegetarian dish:
Lambrusco is the wine of the region so we ordered a bottle to drink with our dinner:
The Chicken and Ricotta Meatballs were served in a mini cast iron pot. The polenta “croutons” were perfect for dipping into the “tomato fondue”:
One of the specials that evening was a Uovo in Cocotte which featured an egg cooked sous vide. This version was reminiscent of eggs Florentine-style since it came with a bit of sautéed spinach and a parmesan cream sauce. Sadly, they forgot to add the black truffle shavings, but the dish was very tasty nonetheless:
Another special from the board, the Sformatino of Winter Vegetables featured oven roasted pumpkin, potato, mushrooms and carrots all topped with melted cheese. It was comfort food great:
For dessert, we went with an assorted cheese platter which featured Gorgonzola and a couple of other cheeses. It also arrived with 3 different kinds of mostardas to eat with the cheese. It was a perfect ending for our very nice meal:
Italian food is generally known for its simplicity with a focus on high quality ingredients. What differentiates a great Italian restaurant is excellent execution in putting all of those ingredients together, and Franceschetta 58 knows how to deliver the goods. With Osteria Francescana’s 3 star pedigree behind it, it makes for an interesting contrast of very high-end and affordable dinner options in Modena.
Note: The BarFlys are vacationing in Italy. SF posts will return soon; in the meantime, please enjoy these travel-related posts.
Fast Cars, Slow Food and 3 Michelin Stars in Modena (Nov. 26, 2012)
Osteria Francescana Reinterprets the Classics (Nov. 27, 2012)
Franceschetta 58: Bistro with a Pedigree (Nov. 28, 2012)