Review: Katie’s Pizza & Pasta Osteria

Katie Lee Collier’s second restaurant is charming, comfortable and delicious. A joint venture with artist husband Ted Collier, the West County spot exudes warmth with a light-filled, eclectic interior. Like her Rock Hill location, the dining tables and chairs are of different sizes and woods. The exposed brick walls warm the space that was once Einstein Bagels, a very basic canvas. When the place is busy (which is often), the inside can be disturbingly noisy and crowded. But the patio is colorful and private, charmingly set off from the parking lot by an ornate fence and lush planter boxes.

The food at Katie’s is consistently good: fresh, flavorful, creative and carefully presented. The place is clearly devoted to ‘quality in and quality out.’ The menu is similar to the original locale, and the execution on the nights we visited was quite good. A starter of House Made Artichoke Toasted Ravioli ($10) was fine, the stuffing flavored mostly with red bell pepper bits and minced artichoke. The ravioli shells were heavily breaded, too much for my taste, but the accompanying pesto for dipping was quite good.

A shared salad, Fried Artichoke ($15), is based on the kitchen’s signature dish. The hearts were beautifully fried to yield crisp leaves—no breading—which dotted a bed of field greens with goat cheese, lightly grilled asparagus and pistachios. The dressing was a tangy balsamic vinaigrette.

The Neapolitan Meatballs ($10) were excellent. Sitting in a slow-cooked tomato sauce, five medium meatballs had good flavor and texture, with Parmigiano cheese, pine nuts and watercress on top. Also excellent was the Eggplant Parmigiano ($10), an olive oil-laden stack of thinly sliced eggplant, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese topped with arugula and radish sprouts. Luscious burrata topped it as well. It was a scrumptious pile of Italian richness.

Don’t go to Katie’s without trying one of the pizzas. Over the years, she has perfected the art of the crust. Hers is chewy, with the right amount of crispness at the edges. And the toppings are creative and exciting. Our Smoked Salmon variety ($19) included capers, slivered red onions, creamy goat cheese and finely minced dill—delicious all around.

We also had the popular Black Spaghetti ($21), a highly recommended bowlful of squid ink pasta teeming with excellent seafood: small clams in the shell, sweet shrimp, scallops and a dollop of salmon caviar. The dish was laden with butter, each noodle excellently coated, with hot pepper flakes adding some bite.

A ‘small plate’ of Chianti Braised Short Ribs ($16) had plenty of flavor, both from the fat-rich meat and the sweet, red-wine vincotto (syrupy wine paste). The single meaty rib came atop an excellent, grainy polenta decorated with two oven-roasted radishes.

A star of the evening was the Tiramisu ($7.95), a dessert so often bastardized that it has lost all appeal to serious gastronomes. Here, it was superb, offering a delicate interplay of ingredients: spongy cake combined with thin layers of rich mascarpone cheese, hints of coffee and a dusting of cocoa powder.

amuse bouche 
the scene | Trendy, modern Italian eatery
the chef | Katie Lee Collier
the prices | Starters $8-$16, pizzas $15-$20, pasta $16-$21
the favorites | Black Spaghetti, Tiramisu, Ciabatta Rolls, Eggplant Parmesan, Neapolitan Meatballs, Pizza

food • ŏ • lō • gy
vincotto | A thick, sweet wine paste produced in some rural regions of Italy
burrata | A fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream with a firm outside and soft, creamy center
watercress | A dark, leafy green in the cruciferous vegetable family, thought to have medicinal powers

14173 clayton road | 636.220.3832