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Hot new restaurant plans to celebrate Christmas with a traditional Italian feast

Feast of Seven Fishes
Whole grilled Branzino with grilled radicchio, fennel, potatoes and lemon jam.  Photo by Joel Luks

On Christmas Eve at Osteria Mazzantini, chef/owner John Sheely and executive chef Paul Lewis will serve a special, four-course interpretation of the traditional Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes. For Sheely, the meal represents the sort of rustic, Northern Italian cuisine that inspired his decision to open Mazzantini, which is named after his mother's family. They immigrated to Galveston, and Sheely recalls many family meals that would eventually become the basis for Osteria Mazzantini's menu. 

In the video above, Lewis demonstrates one of the night's pasta options. Called "paste e cozze," the dish demonstrates how five simple ingredients, including some of the restaurant's housemade pasta and fresh mussels, come together for a dish that's utterly delicious. It all ties into the basic tenets of Italian cooking, which is to take great ingredients and prepare them simply to highlight their natural flavors. 

Sheely can't say for certain that another Houston restaurant isn't serving this meal, but browsing through other Italian restaurants on Facebook doesn't reveal anything similar. 

Intrigued? Osteria Mazzantini will serve its Feast of the Seven Fishes on Dec. 24. Cost is $90 or $120 with suggested wine pairings. Call (713) 993-9898 for reservations.

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