My wife has been dragging me to Cossetta’s on West 7th Street in St. Paul for years; she is a huge fan, and I have always been willing to accommodate her wishes, “happy wife, happy life”. Generally I am not a fan of standing in line to order my meal and then standing in line to pay for my order. That being said Cossetta’s has undergone a major remodel and expansion that is not short on pure dining delight and with venues to satisfy a diverse crowd. It’s transformed into an eatery/pizzeria (the original Cossetta’s) featuring pasta, salads, pizza and sandwiches, a Pasticceria with pastries and gelato, an authentic Italian market, and Louis Ristorante & Bar which is located up several flights of stairs along with a massive outdoor roof top seating/bar area.
Louis is the topic for this month’s review; its classic dining and bar ambiance with dark wood features offer a pleasant atmosphere for happy hour prior to a game at the Xcel, for a business dinner or family outing. The Happy Hour Menu is impressive with tap beer and well drinks starting at $3.00 and appetizers starting at $4.00 and if dinner is not the plan add an Antipasti serving from the dinner menu of Frito Misto, lightly battered fried calamari, shrimp, cod and scallops with zucchini, fennel and pearl onions over arrabbiata sauce. This is seriously a great value option; a couple of beers, two happy hour apps, a tip for your friendly bartender and you are out the door for $30. If you include the Frito Misto it’s $40.00 and still a bargain! Dinner is much more extensive and expensive but also delicious and a worthy experience.
Assuming you bypassed happy hour, a few of my favorites on the Antipasti are the Spiedini di Mozzarella, fresh mozzarella fried, served with tomato, anchovy, lemon and white wine sauce, the Antipasto Misto, prosciutto, soppressata, mortadella, burrata cheese, mixed olives, tomato and roasted peppers, and the Formaggi & Frutta, Gorgonzola, Parmigiano, Pecorino, Rochette and Robiola cheeses served with fresh fruit, fig jam and honey. There is also a Tutti Platter, it serves 4-8 and is definitely on the list for my next Louis visit.
ZUPPA E INSALATE
Misticanza, arugula, radicchio and baby artichokes, fresh lemon citronettte dressing with Parmesan shavings, Caprese is always a favorite of mine, heirloom tomato, Burrata cheese, basil, evoo and crisp brick croutons, Bietole Arrosto, roasted red and golden beets with fresh goat cheese and a black truffle vinaigrette.
The PRIMI section has several pasta offerings but I have not tried any so withhold comment.
Louis Brick Chicken, lemon brined chicken cooked under a brick and finished with a natural sauce and lemon with sautéed spinach. There are three veal options; I chose the scaloppine since it’s a favorite of mine. Saltimbocca di Vitello, veal with sage and prosciutto in a butter wine sauce served with balsamic carrots. Another reason to return and easily dinner for two is the Cioppino Caruso, a seafood stew in a tomato/seafood broth with lobster, shrimp, squid, scallops and cod, served with cheese crostini.
CONTORDNI & DESSERTS
The side dishes and sweet treats include the traditional and extreme.
Bottom line is that Cossetta Alimentari offers a unique dining opportunity; in one business you can enjoy gelato, shop in an Italian Market, order a slice of pizza, sandwich or salad at The Eatery or climb to the top for the Rice Ball’s from Louis’ happy hour menu. CHECK IT OUT, take your time, have fun, and eat something!
Bill’s Beverage of the Month
Surly’s newest and hopefully soon to be included in their flagship lineup, “Overrated”. Termed a West Coast IPA and milder than the boss “Furious”; it’s easy drinking and a nicely crafted hoppy ale!