Okay, so this is a RAVE review......I know I'm about 10 years behind the curve, but I finally went to Tuscan Grill on Saturday, and I loved it! (Actually, it was last month, but then I got the flu, then a root canal, oh well..)
I always thought it was an over-priced foodie-haunt, and since we KNOW I'm a reverse snob, I've never gotten around to it..But after a fantastic Open Studios, we found ourselves in need of a glass of wine, while we decided which of the Waltham chow-options we'd explore. Campagnia and the Tuscan Grill were out of the range for this evening, budget and all that...But wait, here was the Tuscan Grill, and there was room at the bar, at the unfashionably early hour of 5:30...We DID wannah check it out....
Hmmmm, maybe an appetizer, while we're here, could fit into the budget...Well, yes, here are a few..The grilled calamari? The ribollita? Maybe a half-order of pasta? ("Ooh, they have half-orders of pasta!") Hmm, maybe we could make a meal of the apps and half-orders of pasta...Oh, and, aren't these olives fabulous? Just bursting with some kind of juicey marinade...Can I have the last one? Oh, thanks!
We shared an app. of grilled stuffed calamari bruschetta, served over greens....Bang, bang, bang, taste taste taste....Two calamari, stuffed with their tentacles, garlic and crumbs, on a crunchy, garlicky salty bruschetta, drizzled with chili-oil, the perfect counterpoint to the pepperiness of the bed of straight arugula..
But wait a sec, the entrees topped out at $16.95..This is a dinner I could do...And the ingredients sound like a list of chowhound's greatest hits; guanciale, Isreali couscous, can't even remember the rest, but we were seriously challenged in making our decisions..Like little girls, squealing over each line in glee...I mean, there were only two of us...There were 3 fish choices on the menu, but when I found out the special was Herb Encrusted Tuna,served medium rare, I lost it....But wait, chowhound has taught me that specials may be an excuse to gouge the clientele...
"So, how much is the tuna?"
This place was really lookin' good...Of course, there was the sides-thing...For those who choose their meals based on side-dishes, the whole menu segment could have really jacked up the final total, but they were all in the $2.50 to $3.50 range, too, so if you HAD to have garlic mashZAed potaoes, or spinach sauteed in garlic and EVOO, you could do it easily...
I, of course, had no need to do it...My tuna, crusted with sweet tasting herbs and overtones of wood smoke, came with Isreali couscous, cooked with tomoatoes, anchovies, olives and peppers...Kinda like Puttanesca's fresher sister....The chunk of tuna was raw inside, as requested....
The ever-adventurous Yumyum, was swayed by the platters of delicately pink pork that kept going by. It was just called Tuscan Grill's House Special pork, but it was several chops, (is that what cuts on the bone are called?), edged with rosemary, and seared over that same smokey fire...Her's came with the garlic mashed potatoes,and roasted turnips...Oh, too bad, don't like turnips? Let me help you....Heh, heh, heh..
No room for dessert, but they had their own grappa, with dried figs soaking in it...I thought the sweet fig soaked in the fiery digestivo was a great excuse for dessert, but Yumyum took a pass....Since she drinks red, and I wanted white, we could not share a carafe of wine...($32 here...) The selection by the glass was good, but service was strange...While YY's pour of red was healthily sized, in a proper glass, my Pinot Grigio was a skimpy 3 oz. pour in a CORDIAL glass!!!! Huh???? They weren't short of glasses, because the next two were the same....But no matter, be warned...If you're drinking white, get a carafe..
This place really IS Tuscan. There's nothing subtle here. The flavors are bold and in your face; one after another, they grab you, smack you hard on the lips, and leave you waiting for the next kiss...er, I mean bite. :)
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