When referencing Italian food, I am, by self-admission, one of “those guys”. And by that, I mean, your textbook foodie (hate that term). You know the type… who can’t enjoy a dish unless it contains at least three things that no one else at the table has ever heard of. In fact, my friends have long since coined a term for such a product…a “Jon choice”. So to any of you reading this, bite me.
I dunno, I’m just bored with the classics-the ragu bolognaise, carbonara, frutti de mare, etc, etc. One, because rarely are they made di autentico (yeah, I winced reading that, too), and two, because they’re so popular and ingrained into the conceptualized Italian dining ideal that the true culinary pedigree of Italy (which is every bit as dignified and sexy as French or Spanish fare) ends up drowned in red sauce, heavy cream, and peas.
Tuscany Flame, therefore, was a refreshing surprise. From the moment I opened the menu, I knew we were meant to be. The dishes, shuffled daily, were simple in concept, each featuring a handful of star elements in smart and fresh combinations. In their simplicity, though, they were almost paradoxically pretentious, unabashedly and nonchalantly proclaiming their deliciousness—best of all, at an amazing value. Modest and ostentatious. How great food should be.
My order was as follows; duck pate, halibut sashimi topped with a botarga endive salad, and pork jowl ravioli. I hadn’t intended on having two starters, but it was insisted that the duck pate was extraordinary. Who am I to deny myself a good thing? The other orders at the table consisted largely of Steak and Lobster Risotto with asparagus, saffron and caviar.
The halibut and ravioli were amazing. The former ranks as one of the best dishes I’ve ever had (“what the hell is botarga, of course you’d get that”-I still remember the dialogue), the creamy salad coexisting beautifully with the extreme fishiness of the roe and the zing of lemon, all wrapped up in a clean, smooth, raw fish finish. The latter was also excellent, with a firmer al dente than I was used to, and drizzled in good olive oil. The filling was proportioned daintily, given its richness, and was thick and gamey in all the right ways, something you don’t see a lot of in pork.
As for the service and ambiance, I can’t remember the last time I’ve had high end food in such a comfortable environment. Open air, dusky, romantic, and friendly, this place screams “date”, or, in our case, “bunch of dudes just maxin’ out”. Couldn’t ask for anything better.
At the end of the night, most everyone was in agreement—Tuscany Flame is great. Quality food at a casual price at a quality place. Conclusively, 4 star food (god, that puttanesca was really bad) in a 5 star environment. So let that be a lesson to you, the reader…don’t be sippin’ that haterade just cause a man loves his preserved fish eggs.
I will definitely recommend this place and we are greatly appreciate this place and we shall be back