Short List: Osso buco

If the cold, dark winter months have you seeking out hearty meals, nothing beats the richness and depth of flavor found in classic osso buco. Specifically, osso buco Milanese, where creamy risotto is paired with tender, braised veal shank for a soul-satisfying one-two punch of meat and carbs. Dig into the bone for some of the melting marrow, and if it’s accompanied with a slightly tannic Cab or Zinfandel, those post-holiday blues will be a distant memory.

Agostino’s Restaurant & Bar
280 Long Road, Chesterfield, 636.536.6900

At Agostino’s, osso buco is given a home-style twist. Here, a salty, thin meat sauce brings light, bright flavor. Chunks of carrot dot the plate, while risotto plays a supporting role on either side of the shank. Simply prepared with butter and cheese and studded with peas, this risotto is meant to soak up that red sauce. Get a little of everything on your fork, and you’ll swear you’re at your grandma’s house for Sunday dinner.

Truffles
9202 Clayton Road, Ladue, 314.567.9100

“Rich” is the word that best describes the osso buco at Truffles. The perfectly al dente risotto is flavored with black truffles – naturally – and given a mushroom boost with sautéed criminis. Parsley coulis adds a fresh herbal note to counterbalance the veal’s depth, and crisp-tender honeyed baby carrots give a welcome crunch to the dish. Spread the silky marrow on Truffles’ soft bread or go ahead and eat it right off the small knife that accompanies the dish.

Lorenzo’s Trattoria
1933 Edwards St., St. Louis, 314.773.2223

Lorenzo’s Trattoria nails the traditional preparation of osso buco Milanese. The risotto is delicately flavored with saffron, and the braised veal is given a flourish of orange gremolada before serving. The citric tang of the orange offers acidity to cut through the intensely rich meat, keeping the palate primed for the prize: bone marrow. Use the beautiful silver marrow spoon to scoop out every indulgent bit.