The Joseph Richard Group opened the doors of it’s latest contribution to the Valley’s restaurant scene on March 19th, with The Italian Osteria & Cheese Bar. We had the pleasure of joining dozens of local bloggers and media members for an evening of wining and dining in Walnut Grove- and to say we were impressed is an understatement!
The 180-seat restaurant is the first Italian concept restaurant for JRG, whose other establishments include 14 public houses and three S+L Kitchen & Bar restaurants. The menu was designed by the JRG Culinary team comprised of Executive Chef Andy Slinn, Corporate Chef David Jorge (MasterChef Canada winner) as well as the Chef of The Italian, Jason Harper.
We began our huge and delicious meal with a little wine and the Antipasti for 2. JRG describes this as, “Carefully selected local and Italian meats and cheeses, marinated artichokes, olives, eggplant caponata, Italian crackers and toasted focaccia.” We describe it as a bomb-ass platter of deliciousness that won’t disappoint.
Next, we wolfed down the House Made Meatballs, with San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh herbs, whipped ricotta, Grana Padano and toasted focaccia…. I don’t even like meatballs, but all I have to say about that is DAMN, son. Definitely worth ordering.
Throughout the night we tasted the Vongole (clam linguine), Spaghetti Carbonara (a traditional, heavily seasoned and peppery dish), and the Ricotta Gnocchi Pomodoro, which is (not to be dramatic) probably one of the best dishes I’ve eaten anywhere in the world. Our table was full of well-traveled foodies, all of whom were raving about the quality of the food.
After eating more pasta than any one should ever eat, our servers brought out dessert, which somehow topped everything off perfectly. We basically inhaled the tiramisu, which was served deconstructed inside a dark chocolate sphere. The lemon tart was my personal favourite- lemon custard, coconut crumble, vanilla bean gelato, and meringue.
In summary: The Italian is well worth a visit and will not disappoint; with reasonable prices, a lively dining atmosphere, and a convenient location just off the 200th st exit, you really have no excuse not to go stuff your face with pasta and cheese now, do you?
The Italian Osteria & Cheese Bar is located at 20330 88th Ave in Langley, in the former location of JRG’s Oak & Thorne Public House, which has moved across the street to 20173 88th Ave. The restaurant will be open seven days a week for dinner only (5pm to midnight), with plans to open for lunch within the first few months. For more information, visit www.jrg.ca/establishment/italian-osteria-cheese-bar/. Reservations can be requested at www.jrg.ca/reservations