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Toscano in Harvard Square 12/3/13

opinionatedchef | Dec 3, 201309:18 PM

My continuing obsessive search for the best Eggplant Parm(EP) took us tonight to an early dinner at Toscano on Brattle St. ( One thing to note is that they serve continuously through the afternoon.)

The room is all warm and comfortable; the space is wood panelled with brown leather seating, lighting is low, and the room glows with autumn hues from the hanging lights. Service was excellent, food not as much.

Eggplant Parm had alot of flavor; the marinara had an excellent depth to it. But the dish was way overcooked- mushy and greasy. However, it's the best EP so far, and I want to order it again but ask for a shorter baking time. Grilled squid was smoky and tender (particularly the tentacles) and the mustard sauce worked really well with it. My Love's Osso Bucco,imo, was way inferior to so many others, but he liked it fine. The meat was hefty and had a thick tomatoey demiglace. Both of us were disappointed in his saffron risotto which was overcooked and mealy(and if it was like this at 5pm, it would likely be even worse later on, since the risotto was clearly overcooked, and then not chilled down quickly enough that it could maintain a chewiness when reheated/finished off.). My linguini vongole was perfectly cooked; there were 12 clams; and the flavor balance of garlic, wine, red chile, was excellent. I guess I was just surprised that it had a good amount of tomato in it. A platter of smoky grilled vegetables made an excellent side.
I really liked the feeling of the room and we'll likely return, if only to try and get that EP right, but we won't be ordering their risotto again, and hopefully some of you will rec some other good entrees. Judging from our luck with the seafood, maybe that is a strength of theirs. It's a pretty big menu of pastas, pizza, meats,sfd and poultry, sides, apps. We didn't look at wine or dessert options.

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