Where: Toscano - 47 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114
When: February, 2012
There are two languages spoken within my office at work – “donor speak”, which is how we convey our mission and messaging to our donors and supporters, and “food speak” which is what Alicia, my office mate of almost 5 years, and I speak the rest of the time. We start the day asking about each others’ nights or weekends which revolves around what we ate or cooked and then we end the day by asking each others’ evening plans which involves what we are planning to eat or cook. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
It had been way too long since we had been out to dinner so we got a date on the calendar and decided on Toscano’s in Beacon Hill. I had walked by Toscano’s dozens of times before but never really noticed it or heard too much about it which, after having been there, I find surprising. The restaurant is a lot bigger than one would expect having been to a handful of the intimate (read: small) restaurants on Charles Street. It was modern but classic. The service was phenomenal with servers working together to make sure your glass never went empty and you had everything you needed. Looking around there was an elegant mother of three dining with her very well behaved kids, an older nicely dressed couple who looked as though they had been coming there for years, and a table of what appeared to be business men in suits. I could also see Toscano’s being a nice date place.Very versatile.
After debating between a bottle of wine and going by the glass, and choosing the glass, we were pleasantly surprised that their glasses of wine are actually Quartinos- a fourth of a liter. The perfect amount for a Tuesday night. I got the Sangiovese, Umani Ronchi which was just right with everything we ordered. Can’t go wrong with an Italian red when you are at an Italian restaurant really…
We started the meal sharing the Salumi Misti – Sliced Cured / Roasted Meats, Pecorino Toscano, Mixed Olives – and the Polpettini Fiorentina – Veal, Beef, Pork Meatballs, Florentine Style. The Salumi Misti plate was wonderful. I know there was prosciutto and salami on the plate but I am not exactly sure what the last item, at the bottom of the photo, was. We guessed that it was (obviously really) the roasted meat but what meat I can’t really tell you. This starter came with arugula and cheese which was a nice compliment to the olives and meats. I could have eaten an entire plate of the prosciutto alone, delicious. I had heard diners rave about the meatballs via Yelp before coming so I knew we had to order them. The meatballs, although impossible for a non-Italian like myself to pronounce without feeling silly (thank goodness for my Italian dinner date!), were delicious and huge. They were juicy and flavorful and the sauce was dynamite, a wonderful dipping sauce for the two kinds of bread that came out before our starters. Definitely a good choice.
For our entree we ordered the Gnocchi Quarttro Formaggi – Handmade Potato Gnocchi with Four Cheeses. The chef split the order for us which is always so nice instead of making a mess doing so at the table. The portions, again, were very generous. I noticed with the entree how simple the food is here. You won’t get some fancy inedible decorative piece on your plate. You won’t get some mile high presentation or anything that doesn’t need to be there. The food is honest, clean, well prepared, and delicious. The gnocchi, even in its cream sauce, were light, delicate, and well seasoned. It took everything in me to eat them one by one and not stab at my plate until I had a line of 4 on my fork to pop in my mouth.
“Would you like to look at a dessert menu?” Bahahah. Of course.
As tempted as I was to get the Tiramisu the reviews were so mixed that I didn’t want to take the chance. Instead we ordered the Ricotta Cheesecake which was delicious. I know its not easy to have so many courses with cheese but we managed to power through it. The cake, like the gnocchi, gave the impression of being light and fluffy. It was just the right amount of sweet with the slight lingering tartness of the ricotta.
With dessert we ordered coffees and I have to say this is one of the best coffees I have had in a while. I’m not a coffee connoisseur or snob but this was truly delicious. I was raving about the coffee for days after wards, I need to find out the brand although I’m not sure I need a reason to be drinking more coffee than I already do.
Overall, the food was no frills, simple, delicious Italian fare (and large portions), the service was phenomenal, and the coffee alone would keep me coming back.