Toscano, a restaurant review (Restaurant Week edition)

Winter Restaurant Week came to a close yesterday, here in the Boston area.  A couple of my friends have raved about Toscano over the last year, so we went there.  Our menu was:

Primi
Salmone Affumicato
Foley Smoked Salmon – Crostini – Lemon – Caperberries

Rigatoni Toscano
Double Smoked Bacon – Tomato Cream – Herbs

Tagliatelle Porcini
Sautéed Porcini Mushrooms – Herbs

Pasta e Fagioli
Puree of White Bean Soup – Tubettini Pasta

Insalata Cesare
Romaine Hearts – Focaccia Croutons – Classic Dressing

Caprese
Local Fresh Burrata – Beefsteak Tomatoes – Basil

Secondi
Risotto Granchio
Jumbo Lump Crabmeat – Tomato – Shellfish Stock

Pollo Pizzaiola
Oven Roasted Chicken Breast -Pomodoro Sauce – Fresh Mozzarella – Oregano – Patate al Forno

Scaloppini Limone
Sautéed Veal Scaloppini – White Wine – Lemon – Parsley – Patate al Forno

Bistecca alla Griglia
Wood Grilled Sirloin of Beef  – Patate al Forno

Gamberoni al Moscato
Sautéed Shrimp – Leeks – Moscato Wine – Patate al Forno

Salmone Asparagi
Grilled North Atlantic Salmon – Asparagus – Mustard Sauce

Dolce
Tiramisu
Toscano House Specialty “Budino Style”

Torta di Mirtilli
Blueberry – White Chocolate Tart

Gelato e Sorbeto
Del Giorno

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The tagliatelle?  I loved it.  The pasta had a nice bite to it, and it wasn’t too oily.  The mushroom flavor was very good.  It wasn’t an immediate “wow” for one of my table companions.  But the more she ate, the happier she was with her dish.  For half of my table, the favorite starter was the rigatoni.  I tried a bite of it.  The bacon flavor is without question the dominant flavor.  It was very delicious as long as you like your bacon, and maybe I’ll order it next time.  Then again, I love tagliatelle and mushrooms, so I’m hard press to say which of the two I’d pick if I had to.  One of the diners had the white bean soup, and she was happy with it. It had a much more delicate flavor than I was expecting.  I’m not sure I’ll ever order it in the future, but I highly suspect that it’s because I’m pro-pasta at Toscano.

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New Year’s Eve at Harvest, a review

Last night, instead of NYE dinner at The Red House, we changed things up a bit and went to Harvest.  Both restaurants are in Harvard Square, Cambridge, but they are pretty different.  Harvest is fancier, the portions generally smaller, but still every bit wonderful and delightful.

I adore Harvest, even though I don’t eat there too often.  I’ve never been disappointed by their seasonal menus.  Although, I think my opinion of the restaurant is slightly skewed.  I took a special one-time cooking class with Mary Dumont, who is Harvest’s executive chef.  The class had a bonus appearance by Brian Mercury, who is  Harvest’s executive pastry chef.  They were both lovely people with infectious personalities and an obvious love for what they do.  It’s hard to dislike food created by them.

Last year, I had kicked myself slightly for not doing NYE dinner at Harvest.  The menu sounded amazing.  As such, I had my heart set on NYE dinner this year at Harvest from the get-go.  And it did not disappoint.

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Another Fork in the Road, restaurant review

I don’t think I’ve talked about this restaurant before, although I’m sure I meant to.

Last weekend, I was visiting a friend in the Dutchess County/Columbia County part of New York.  One of our favorite places to eat  out there is an unassuming restaurant called “Another Fork in the Road”, in the town of Milan (pronounced as MY-LAN, and not like the Italian city because New York is odd like that).   Although it’s nothing special in decor, the food is anything but.

We went on a Sunday night, which meant that it wasn’t packed with people but it also meant that a lot of things had run out on the menu.  Oh well.

We were still well fed.

Here was our menu:

menu1

 

menu2

My friends and I shared three appetizers.  We had the grilled asparagus with smoked ricotta and soft boiled egg, the tandoori calamari, and the crispy pork belly with sweet potato and kale.

The smoked ricotta was amazing (as in, I still want some more right now).  The flavor of it with the grilled asparagus and egg was just perfect.  I loved the pork belly dish just as much.  The pork belly was sweet from the root beer but it didn’t taste like root beer at all.  It just tasted delicious.  It was wonderfully crispy and the mash was really good too (and, to me anyway, not heavy on the sweet potato flavor somehow… I wonder if it also had some root beer in it).   For my dinner companions, the pork belly dish was the best of the three.

app1

 

apps2

Our least favorite was the tandoori calamari.  It was fine, but it wasn’t anything special.  One person at the table is an Indian food “expert” and she said that the combination of spices was too bitter.  Personally, I just thought that it wasn’t as well thought out as the other dishes so it paled in comparison.  Also, the carrots should have been a little softer.

As for our entrees, there was duck with beans and fiddleheads, chestnut gnocchi with porcini, and 5-spice marinated flank steak with chard/ramp “kimchi”.

duck

 

gnocchi

I had a bite of the duck and the gnocchi.  Both were very good.  I almost ordered them  but my friends and I have a pact to not order the same dish if we’re dining at Another Fork.  I’m glad I didn’t.  I grew up on Chinese style roast duck, so I find most other duck dishes to be a little boring.  (Even if I am dining at a fine restaurant in Paris.  True story.)

The gnocchi were good but the chestnut flavor was undetectable under the sauce.  The sauce was amazing, but it’s really more of a fall/winter dish than a spring dish.

steak

The steak dish was my entree.  Downsides?  I couldn’t taste any 5-spice flavoring.  I could only taste the wine in the marinade.  As for the kimchi, it wasn’t kimchi at all.  I’m not sure it had even been fermented or pickled, to be honest.  I think it might have been sauteed.  So, I’m not sure why the restaurant chose to describe it as kimchi.  (I’ve had pickled items at the restaurant before.  It was delicious, so I know they know how to.)

The upside?  Boy, it was a tasty dish!  Definitely my favorite of the three and I’m glad it was all mine.  (^_^)

I can’t wait to visit the restaurant again the next time I’m in the area.  You should go too, if the opportunity is ever there.

Reference Link:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Another-Fork-in-the-Road/163533972662