Osteria Stella


Tainted. A very apropos adjective to start off a review that stems from a work event. There’s no way to remain impartial or cognizant of one’s surroundings in any kind of meaningful way. That is, especially when one is bamboozled into sitting down at a very long table to drink sparingly and share hors d’oeuvres with equally stunned co-workers when you thought you were going to an informal gathering at a bar where you could group off in pairs of threes and badmouth the one guy who ends up sitting next to you at said table–not that I’d ever do that. So I observed very little other than the fact I would have rather been in a bar than this brightly lit, medium-priced Midtown nouveau-Italian snoozefest. Again, I could have been a victim of circumstance, but the place had all the charm of a fifth grade cafeteria, and was about as Italian as Bowser from Sha-na-na. The only thing I ate was a couple handfuls of fried calamari, which was actually very good. I was starving, I must admit, so they could have fried the tongue of the sous-chef’s puffy Reebok and I would have gobbled it like Al Roker on weed. And then I beat a hasty retreat–backing awkwardly away from the table, retracing my steps from the door–actually stepping into my original footprints and spilling out into the street like a palsy victim. I immediately went to a bar and washed the stench of corporate teambuilding from my person with about nine cold beers. [MF]

135 W 50th St.