By Allen Pierleoni
Carnivores rejoice this time of year, when cold winds blow in winter specials to restaurant menus. We're talking braised lamb shanks, spicy cioppino and tender short ribs with steaming mashed potatoes.
But what about the harder-to-find osso buco? A specialty of Milan, it's cross-cut veal shanks usually braised in a medley of broth, wine and tomato sauce. The term translates to "bone with a hole," and the hole is filled with luscious marrow.
Be happy: You can find osso buco for lunch and dinner at Buonarroti Ristorante through the winter months (along with deep-fried soft-shell crabs, but that's another story).
"I braise the veal shanks with vegetables (including carrots, celery and onion) and slowly cook them in red wine and our red sauce," said owner Daniel Alcantaro.
That sauce was passed down from Alcantaro's grandmother. The ingredients are a family secret, of course, but it's "a vegetarian sauce with garlic, rosemary, red wine, olive oil and a lot of other things," he allowed.
Buonarroti's fork-tender osso buco is being served as a lunch and dinner special (if you don't see it on the white board, ask for it). The lunch portion is 10 to 12 ounces and comes with penne pasta and seasonal vegetables ($19). The 16-ounce dinner plate arrives with pappardelle pasta (flat pasta in wide ribbons) and vegetables ($24). Note that risotto (creamy Arborio rice thick with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese) can be substituted for either pasta; again, just ask.
In addition, the restaurant has waived its $15 corkage fee Wednesday nights. And special three-course meals for two are $29.95 Monday and Tuesday nights (choose from six entrees, but not osso buco).
Buonarroti is in Town & Country Village, Marconi and Fulton avenues. Information: (916) 265-2110, www.buonarrotis.com
Call The Bee's Allen Pierleoni at (916) 321-1128.