Although it's on Osteria's menu year-round, chef Pete Kerling enjoys the braised style of duck, which he says works best with autumn flavors.
Shredded duck over cavatelli pasta ($30) Kerling looks forward to making this dish all year. He slow-roasts duck in veal stock, wine and a vegetable puree of celery, onions and carrots. "It's rich, hearty and warming," he says.
"The major hunting season is in the autumn," says chef Tom Space, who embraces game meats on his fall menu by combining them with rich ingredients and sauces such as truffle oil.
Venison ragu ($18.95) Space cooks the venison like a pot roast in this warm, woodsy dish. He lets the meat absorb the flavors of tomato, Barolo red wine, porcini mushrooms, rosemary and sage. "They are the flavors of the forest," Space says.
Chef John Kolar gets his butternut squash from a friend and local NASA rocket scientist who gardens in his spare time. "Whenever I think of autumn now, butternut squash is the main ingredient," Kolar says.
Butternut squash pierogi with cranberry compote ($8) "It's a nice way to bring some of my ethnic background into the restaurant," Kolar says about this nod to his Polish mother. Filled with slow-roasted squash, the pierogi is topped with brown butter sauce and a tart cranberry compote.
Co-chef Kevin Powers loves the versatility of apples. "We're constantly able to do something with them," he says, adding the crisp flavor goes well with meats such as wild boar.
Warm apple cinnamon cobbler with maple walnut ice cream ($8) The tartness of the apple is balanced by homemade maple walnut ice cream, says Powers. He adds that local maple syrup gives the dish a sweetness Aunt Jemima can't replicate.