and for a moment reminded me of a small, but sophisticated villa. The murals at the entryway continue to evoke the idea that I would be transported to a small village in Italy where great dishes are served.
Further inside, the wood is dark and rustic. The mood is quiet and peaceful, but the aroma of garlic and freshly baked bread was nearly celestial. The ambiance was genteel, serene and mature, which lent itself to a relaxing meal after a long day. I was seated without a wait and was offered a booth with a lovely view. The sun had set and the twinkling lights in the distance contributed to a lovely setting. This is an excellent place to enjoy dinner conversation, a lovely spot for a date or even a lunch meeting.
The menu is hearty with seven Antipasti that include Calamari Fritta, Cozze (mussels) Toscano, and others as equally tantalizing. I started my meal with the Tuscany Insalata Mista—a mixed green salad with chickpeas, green peppers, sweet onions, pepperoncini and tomatoes with balsamic vinaigrette dressing ($5.99). The portion was an adequate size before my entrée, but the “mixed greens” were presented as the thick ends of the Romaine with few tender parts of that variety of lettuce. The chickpeas and the sweet balsamic vinaigrette saved the salad from complete disappointment. The other choice of salads included the typical Insalata Greca (Greek Salad) and the Insalata Cesare Tuscany (Caesar Salad). I’m always on the look out for the unusual and, therefore, opted out of these choices.
I selected the Veal Tuscany ($17.99) from many selections under Piatto Toscano. The hearty dish is composed of veal scallops topped with sautéed eggplant and wild mushrooms. The chef used a plum tomato for the sauce and the cheese was a mozzarella, melted atop a bed of angel hair pasta. The veal scallops were tender, but a bit bland. I believe there was the expectation that the sauce could carry most of the flavor. It did not. What stood out as most flavorful was the sautéed eggplant—smoky and earthy and quite delicious.
I paired the meal with a glass of Zonin Montepulciano d’ Arbruzzo ($8), a winning red from the Zonin family vintners. It is earthy, has lots of berries, with a spicy kick and pairs well with rustic pastas. It’s a respectable wine and can be selected with a variety of pasta menu offerings.
The pizzas are very interesting with one very enticing creation, named Arugula, described as “whisper thin Prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, fresh arugula, crumbled gorgonzola cheese, shaved Asiago finished with spicy chile infused olive oil.” Now, that’s one that I’m eager to try. A great pizza, a nice red wine, and a pleasant view will bring me back to Tuscany very soon.