Food Review: Saltimbocca alla Romana at Osteria Toscana in Palo Alto
I recently tried the Saltimbocca (Italian for jumps in the mouth) at Osteria Toscana on Hamilton Avenue in Palo Alto. I was expecting a veal cutlet pounded thin and folded over to create a pocket to contain the cheese, wrapped in prosciutto then pan fried to the point where the prosciutto begins to take on color and a slightly crispy texture. I expected this to be served flat with a white wine and shallot sauce to give it just a bit of moisture.
To my surprise what arrived at my table appeared to be two medium sized baked potatoes swimming in a thick mushroom gravy. The plating was a bit underwhelming however if there was any misunderstanding the fault was entirely mine. The menu clearly stated Saltimbocca alla Romana or Saltimbocca Roman-style. This was the original version of this dish and consisted of veal, prosciutto and sage, rolled-up and cooked in dry white wine and butter.
Cutting into it I discovered that it was served piping hot and seasoned to perfection. The mozzarella was ooey gooey goodness just the way I like it. The ratio of veal to prosciutto was spot on. The meat was tender, succulent and enhanced beautifully by the mushroom sauce. In short it was an expertly prepared entree and an absolute delight. I might have preferred roasted fingerling potatoes but the polenta garnished with cherry tomatoes was a smart and satisfying complement to the meal.
Which brings me to the question; is it possible to have two much of a good thing? I think so. I skipped the appetizer, and dessert, and even so this was more food than I could comfortably eat in one sitting. On the lunch menu the Saltimbocca is $26.00 and extremely reasonable at that. My advise would be to take a friend and pay the $2.50 split plate charge. For just under $15.00 each you’ll enjoy a meal that won’t disappoint and you won’t leave hungry.